Methods to Organize Group Decision Making

Methods to Organize Group Decision Making

In today’s organization, a great deal of time is spent in conducting meetings for various purposes. Some are meant for communicative purposes while others involve some type of joint decision making. The decisions that are made on a routine basis may be simple or complex. But it involves assimilating a huge amount of information, scrutinizing them well and exploring the various ideas that generate from it. Decisions taken can have an effect on the overall performance of the team.

What are the various methods by which decisions are made in an organization? The approaches vary depending on various factors like type of decision, time and resources available, nature of the task and so on. Johnson. D.W and Johnson F.P (2000) in their book “Joining together: Group theory and group skills” describe the following methods of decision making.

1. Decision made by authority without group discussion

This type of decisions is generally taken by the designated leader without involving the team members. It involves simple or routine task, having little or no time available at disposal. In this type of decision making, the team commitment required is low. It ranks high on assertive scale but low on co-operative scale as no group interaction is allowed.

2. Decision made by authority after group discussion

The team comes up with various ideas, has discussions but the final decision is taken by the leader itself. This type of decision comes handy when the available time allows for team discussion not agreement, little team commitment is required. Listening to the team helps the authority to take better decision.

3. Decision made by expert

It is useful when one person of the team has an overwhelming expertise on a specific subject matter. The expert is selected from amongst the group members and he is given the responsibility to consider the issues. The results of these decisions are highly dependent on the expert’s knowledge on the matter. There are little chances of group discussion and team commitment is also low in this case.

4. Decision made by averaging the individuals’ opinion

In this method of decision making, individuals are called separately and ask his/ her opinion on the matter. After allowing the team members to voice their opinions, a consolidated decision based on the opinions of the members is prepared. Though this seems logical as there will not be any team commitment with respect to the decision made as the decision has not be voiced out as a group. It may not be as effective as it was intended to be.

5. Decision by minority

Minority includes less than 50% of team member who makes the decision. This method is generally used for taking large number of decisions in a limited time period. But it has some drawbacks as this process may lead to railroading or may create an air of competitive atmosphere with the team members.

6. Decision by majority vote

The most commonly used decision making process and it involves more than 51% of the team members. It is generally important for making decision when there is insufficient time to make decision by consensus. The group supports the voting process and its outcome and would be considerably committed to implement the outcome.

7. Decision by consensus

The most effective method of all the decision making process. In this method all the team members get the chance to express their thoughts and feelings. A collective decision is made through a communication process with all the group members speaking and expressing their ideas. The team commitment required to implement the decision is sufficiently high.

While there are several methods that one can adopt to take decisions, the most common method is the consensus method wherein all the members involved jointly come to a common understanding and take a collective decision. However, depending on the situations other methods can be considered.

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