What is Group Decision Making?
Group decision making is a concept of giving a topic to a targeted group of people where the individuals collectively decide their opinions.
After collectively a decision is made, then it can’t be changed by any member of the group or from anyone outside the group. Group discussion always consists of people with two or more individuals.
Group Decision-Making Methods:
Decision making which is an important process in any organization is very essential to do proper research and choosing the right method before taking up a decision at the workplace.
Group decision making helps you take better decisions because better ideas come up with brainstorming.
While taking decisions related to the workplace, including other employees part of the organization is also very important.
A proper agreement of everybody participating in the group decision-making process gives rise to effective decisions. In case of minor issues, solo decisions can be taken but when making decisions regarding bigger things, the group decision-making process is mandatory.
Five Useful Methods for Group Decision Making:
- Multiple Votes and Voting Rounds
- Iterative Convergence – Delphi Method
Types of Group Decision Making:
Decision making holds a pivotal role at work especially when we are dealing with bigger complex problems. In order to make this process a little simple, we need to select the best type of decision making. So, the leader should be responsible for taking up a proper kind of decision-making process for effective outcomes.
6 different kinds of group decision-making processes:
- Majority Rule
Best mechanisms for successful decision-making:
- Assign accountability
- Use Polling
- Take the best process to manage conflict escalation.
Group Decision Making Process Steps:
The best decision making can be done only by proper research, information gathering and getting in alternate solutions. To achieve this a proper step by step process should be followed for a thoughtful and deliberate decision making.
- Recognize decision
- Collect relevant information
- Identify the alternatives
- Analyze the evidence
- Choose among alternatives
- Take proper actions
- Assess your decision & its consequences
There are many disadvantages as well as advantages of group decision making. Let’s study them in detail with the following points given:
Advantages of Group Decision Making:
1. Diversity in opinions:
Well, as a group has a lot of members and they as individuals come from different backgrounds so ultimately they have unique and different ideas and opinions regarding the matter at the hand.
All the ideas may be as unique and better in comparison to individual decision making. With the help of number of ideas, you can create a large number of alternatives and at the end finally can come to a successful conclusion.
2. Participation and interest of the individuals:
When a person is dedicated and interested it promotes more innovative ideas and plans which make decisions promising. When interested people share their ideas the group discussion is more actively participated and effective in nature.
The active members may or may not be the expert in that particular topic but their opinion still matters because of the participation and dedication shown.
3. Positive and understanding members:
It is important that the members in the group should have an understanding nature because all members have to accept the decision no matter what the quality may be as the decision affects in the favour of the group as a whole.
Acceptance of the suggestion and opinions bring motivation and eagerness of the participation within the group, thus generates a quality decision.
4. Collective contribution of ideas:
The group discussion helps in removing the barrier of monopoly in the decision-making process. At times if a decision is made by a single individual it is unreliable in nature. Hence with the help of having a collective idea chosen the factor of unreliability is removed.
A decision by a single person can be partial in nature and mainly works in his favour so collective decision making is important because it can favour all the people in the organization.
5. Team building:
Active participation from all the individuals of the group helps in building the morale of the team and builds a healthy and coordinative relationship among the members of the team of the particular group.
As this happens the members develop certain skills pertaining to the decision-making process which benefits the group members and the group as a whole.
6. Democratic decision making:
The group decision-making process is more of collective participation so it is, in turn, democratic in nature in comparison to the individual decision making which is more autocratic in nature.
When the decision is democratic, it is more easily perceivable and acceptable and in tune with society, we live in. Thus it is always preferable that the discussion is been shared with more than the two individuals.
7. Abundant information:
When a group is sharing their ideas and opinions it actually passes more information and more number of ideas compared to the individual decision-makers who will have limited ideas confined to his limited knowledge only.
So group decision making or group discussion is far more of an advantage and beneficial in making clear and accurate or definite decision which will affect the end result of the plan.
8. Expert opinions:
The information from the expert is to the point and the deliverance of the ideas provided by them is more quality assurance instead of general opinions as the expert might have some background knowledge or experience regarding the matter discussed presently.
For this, an expert might already be involved in the group or he is called from outside to give advice regarding the decision that is to be made.
9. Voting System:
Group discussion is a process where a large number of ideas are put forth in front of the group and a decision needs to be made which will come in favour of both the individual and the firm.
For this verdict to be decided, voting is used to come to a common outcome acceptable by all the members. One member is given one vote and the opinion which receives the most votes is chosen as it is in favour of the functioning and working of the firm leading to its development.
Disadvantages of Group Decision Making:
1. Consumption of Time:
The Group discussion making techniques often consume and takes more time to come to a conclusion which is accepted by each individual in the group as every individual in the group has their own unique and innovative ideas which result in having too many options in consideration.
The bigger the size of the group, the larger is the time consumed by them. Time consumption always arises when it comes to group discussion.
2. Different ideas and opinions:
In the group discussion, all the participants involved have their own ideas which is their favour in turn protecting their own interest. This brings disparities among the members in the group which is not very healthy leading to personal conflicts among them.
This in turn obstacles in the decision-making process thus reducing the efficiency as well as quality in making the decision as a whole by the group.
3. Being silent in disagreement:
At times when the decision process in groups is being carried out, some members agree in favour of a certain decision just for agreeing or following the norms agreement.
An individual may agree to the point by not standing up firm of his opinion which may contradict to the opposite persons’ opinion. This discourages the person to make quality ideas and opinion and standing up firm to his decision.
4. Social Pressures:
When an individual of the group remains silent at the time of the decision-making process, one of the reason may be the social pressures in that particular environment. Thus this leads to the failure in being a good member.
The social pressure of the group can affect the individual’s mindset as they may be very strong which can affect and change certain traits and qualities of the individual, in turn, changing his behaviour entirely which affect the decision.
5. Priorities on certain ideas:
A number of ideas are presented within the group. At times the members of the group may only focus on a certain number of ideas, at times one or two alternatives only and they may not focus or come up with other ideas which may benefit their group and the individuals that it represents. Thus it causes all the members of the group to limit their choices and being stuck to only a few ideas.
6. Against the goals of the organization:
The group decision-making process is carried out in the firm in terms to accomplish the goals and objectives of the organization. But at times the decisions that are exercised and carried out at the time of group discussion is not always carried out in terms to accomplish the goals and objectives of the firm.
When the goals of the individuals do not agree with the goals of the group as a whole this situation arises which will lead to disrupting in the work behavior of the organization and not reach the goals and objectives of the firm quickly.
7. Uncertainty in the risk-bearing factor:
When the decisions are made by the group, the factor of risk-bearing will always arise. So at times, the group may opt for proceeding towards taking less risk or towards taking more risk for the group as a whole.
When a firm opts for taking a greater risk it may yield in getting a higher and greater reward after the objective has been met. But in order to achieve success in the firm, some kind of risk needs to be undertaken by the group.
8. Avoiding certain important decisions:
When the decision-making process is being held in the group there are some decisions which are given more or are high in priority and some decisions are of low priority in the eyes of the members of the group. So sometimes certain high priority tasks are replaced with low priority tasks.
This method of doing so is known as procrastination, the members of the group avoid such tasks which are high in priority as they do not study them or find alternate solutions to replace them. Don’t discuss them but instead replace them with tasks of less importance at that moment.
9. Rushing into decision making:
At certain times, there might be a rush that a decision needs to be carried out by the group at that instant as it is a hurry. So at times when the group comes to announcing a decision at this moment, the decision is rushed into making not thinking about the future consequences that may arise for the members of the group and the firm.
The consequences which may be unfavorable in nature are not given enough importance by the members of the group while the decision-making process is being carried out.
10. Responsibility denied by the leader:
In every group, a leader is appointed by the members of the group who is responsible enough to see whether everything is happenings in an orderly manner. Before carrying out a decision the leader appoints certain committees to provide help.
When there is not enough time to carry out a decision unanimously and there is a hurry to implement a decision then the responsibility of future happenings after the decision has been put into effect is given to the committee by the team leader leading to an irresponsible attitude and behavior.
11. Overuse of Authority:
The group discussion concept is considered as working of a number of individuals as a whole in harmony and unity so as to reach the goals and objectives of the Organization. But at times to get their opinion influenced by others, certain Members of the group overuse their authority and dominate the group and their Individuals.
In doing so some of the members start maintaining a distance from the group which leads to being less involved in the group activities and decision-making process thus leading to losing the concept of a group.
12. Highly Expensive:
The concept of group discussion is two or more people carry out and formulate decisions in favour of the firm. So this concept can be expensive in nature with respect to money, time, man-hours and energy.
With respect to this, it is also considered that if the group as a whole gets a large contribution then it is known that the individual contribution of each member is less.
13. Forming of Groups:
In a large group as a whole, at times certain smaller number of groups are also formed with a few members as they think they are better and different from others. This concept is known as ‘groupism’ which itself is a very negative comment. So with this, a large number of informal or smaller groups are formed not considering the one large group as a whole which leads to negative comments and resentment towards other people inside as well as outside the group having a negative impact on the firm.
Group discussion is effective and preferred when there is big matter at hand where views and opinion from a different individual can equally contribute to an end result of a successful decision.
It is more of an advantage when it is a topic related to the concern of many individuals at stake because collective decision making can give their views without being partial. As a single situation concerning only certain people are not involved so group decision-making activity is always a better solution for such situation.
But if there is a particular or a matter involving limited people concerning group discussion is a disadvantage or is a backlog when such a situation is at hand.