Definition: Group Decision Making is a form of participative decision making, where a group of individuals work together to solve a problem complex in nature. The group members try to discover and evaluate creative alternatives to solve a complicated problem.
It is a participatory process in which the group members share their Ideas, Knowledge, Expertise and Experience. The group decisions depend upon:
- Maturity Rule
- Status-Quo, etc.
In organizations, significant decisions are taken by more than one person. The involvement of people in the process gives them a sense of ownership, and they also share the risk associated with it.
What is a Group?
When a number of individuals come together and work to attain a common objective is called a Group.
What is Decision Making?
Selecting the best solution to solve the critical problem is called Decision Making.
Objectives of the Group Decision Making
- To gain commitment towards the decisions.
- To invest more knowledge and expertise during the process.
- To bring synergy among the group members.
Content: Group Decision Making
Advantages of Group Decision Making
- A pool of Knowledge: Decision making in a group involves many people during the process. This brings more knowledge and expertise at the time of decision making.
- Acceptance: As the decision is taken collectively, the members easily accept the decisions.
- Variety of Alternatives: A group can generate more alternatives than individuals.
- Overall Development: Group decision making is an interactive process in which group members share their skills and knowledge. It results in the overall development of the group members.
- Diversity of Views: Different individuals possess different views towards a situation. One receives different ideas for the specific problem at the time of decision making.
- Balanced Decisions: Multiple consequences and risks are ascertained by the different group members resulting in balanced decisions making.
Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
- Dominance: The group members must agree with one or more dominating members to make a decision.
- Conflict: Disagreement among the group members may lead to conflict in the group.
- Time-Taking Process: It may take plenty of time if the group members cannot reach any suitable decision.
- Pressure: The group members may feel pressure to accept the decisions taken by others.
Techniques of Group Decision Making
Group decision-making techniques are the processes that help group leaders in idea generation regarding a business problem. The creativity and expertise of the group members facilitate hedging risks associated with the decision.
Brainstorming is a group decision-making technique developed by Alex Osborn. This technique aims to generate a pool of ideas in a judgement-free environment.
In this technique, the group manager clearly states the problem. The group members are asked to generate as many ideas as possible spontaneously. No criticism, comments, or judgements are allowed during the process. All the ideas are recorded and evaluated by the manager later on.
- A list of a large number of creative ideas is created.
- The process is carried out in a bias-free environment.
- It results in a low cost per idea.
- The size of the group is small, which leads to increased participation of group members.
- As there is no restriction or judgement, quality ideas are received.
- The idea is acceptable to all.
- In the end, no plan or solution is generated. Only a list of ideas is left with the manager.
- Due to lack of closure, group members are left dissatisfied.
Delphi Technique is a group decision making and planning process. In this, judgement and solutions are obtained through group members without physical interaction. Communication takes place through e-mails or other methods via questionnaires. Norman C.Dalkey and his associates at the Rand Corporation developed this technique.
The steps taken to perform Delphi Technique are as follows:
- Delphi Question and the first enquiry: The group coordinator sends the Delphi Question and questionnaires to the group members. They are asked to share their ideas or solutions for the given problem.
- The first response: The members write their views, ideas, possible solutions and send their answers to the group coordinator.
- Analysis of first response, feedback and second enquiry: The group coordinator collects and summarises their responses. He prepares another questionnaire asking for more refined solutions, clarification, agreements & disagreements of previous ones.
- The second response: The group members again record their responses and send them to the coordinator.
- Continuation of the process: This process continues until they reach a suitable solution.
Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
This decision-making technique doesn’t involve interaction among the group members. The group members are present but don’t interact with each other that is why it is called nominal. The group members are asked to write their ideas without any discussion. Their opinions are noted on a chart one by one and clarified without any criticism.
The steps involved in NGT are as follows:
- The group members list their ideas silently.
- Ideas are written on a chart until all the ideas are listed.
- Discussion of the ideas is carried out without criticism.
- A written vote is taken at the end.
The group members sit in a circle and one of the group members sits at the centre, generally the decision-maker. The one in the centre suggests a solution for the given problem.
All the members will ask questions and critically evaluate the solution suggested by the person in the centre. The group members cannot interact with each other. After all the views are expressed, the ones with conses are selected.
This method is a mix of NGT and technology. The meetings are conducted through an electronic medium. The problem is shared with the group online, and the members submit their responses. The agreement and disagreements are shared through votes.
- The group members can be honest without any pressure.
- It is a less time taking process.
- The members with good typing speed can excel compared to those with low or average typing speed.
- The excellent ideas are not recognized.
It is a technique where two group members are appointed as ‘devils‘. These devils have to identify flaws in the ideas suggested by the group members. The other members have to satisfy these devils with the solutions.
This technique is adopted where the answer is to be drawn in yes or no. The entire group is divided into two parts, one part suggests points favouring the decision and the other part presents points against the decision.
Steps involved in Didactic Interaction are as follows:
- The problem or issue is defined for which a yes or no decision is to be taken.
- The group is divided into two parts, one favouring Yes and the other favouring No.
- The groups support their side of the decision while discussing.
- Then they inter-change their sides and continue the discussion. That is to say, the members in favour of No will support the Yes ones and vice versa.
- Mutual acceptance of both parties obtains the result of the discussion.
Also, read the difference between Group and Team.
Example of Group Decision Making
The marketing department has to decide the marketing medium for the product. The marketing manager opted for the Brainstorming technique. He organized a group meeting and shared the objective with the members. He then asked the members to brainstorm and suggest ideas for marketing the product.
Group decision making is an important tool for managers to make decisions more wisely. The business can make use of different techniques available for the process.
The group should opt for appropriate techniques for the decision. Wrong selection of the technique may result in reduced trust of the group, erode creativity and synergy.