What is Group Decision Making?
Group decision-making is the process of coming up with an optimum decision with the collective discussion made by a group of people in a given situation. In other words, it is a process where groups of people gather and discuss a problem and make a decision. Groups consist of committees, task force, team, and other formal and informal groups.
It believes that two heads are better than one head. In many organizations today, important decisions are made by groups rather than by individuals. The increased complexity of problems requires specialized knowledge in various fields usually not possessed by a single person and necessitates group decision-making.
Usually, in a group decision, groups of people discuss a topic and come to a decision, but sometimes they have different views with each other. In such a situation, they come up with a decision with the majority of voters.
Group decisions would become particularly appropriate for non-programmed decisions. These decisions relate to the determination of organizational objectives and formulation of plans, strategies, and policies. Many large organizations make these decisions through executive committees consisting of chief executives and departmental heads.
Group decision-making involves the pooling of knowledge, abilities, skills, information, and judgment which contributes to improving the quality of the decision. Many managers spend more time in meetings of committees and other groups to make decisions. It is said that managers spend as much as 80% of their working time in committee meetings.
It has both positive and negative impact to the organization and group of people.
Group Decision Making Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantages of group decision-making can be studied on the following headings:
Provide Complete Information
There is truth in the saying that “two heads are better than one”. Group members have specialized knowledge and they are able to provide more information and knowledge than individuals.
Generate More Alternatives
Groups have a greater amount and diversity of information. Thye can identify more alternatives than an individual. This is possible because group members have specialized knowledge in different areas.
For example, a team made up of individuals from the fields of engineering, accounting, production, marketing, and human resources will generate alternatives that reflect their diverse perspectives.
Increased Acceptance of A Solution
Since the members who implement the decisions also participate in the decision-making process, the implementation part becomes more effective. This also increases the commitment of the members to see that the implementation is successful.
The group decision-making process is consistent with democratic ideals. Decisions made by groups may be perceived as more legitimate than decisions made by one person.
The disadvantages of group decision-making can be studied on the following headings:
Forming the right group consumes a lot of time. Similarly, group members take more time to make decisions than an individual. Each member may have different perceptions regarding a solution to a problem. They take more time in discussion to come to mutual consent.
Members of a group are never perfectly equal. They may differ in organizational rank, experience, knowledge about the problem, influence with other members, verbal skills, assertiveness, and so on. This inequality creates an opportunity for one or more members to dominate others. A dominant and vocal minority frequently can have an excessive influence on the final decision.
Pressures To Conform
Some members may simply agree with the others for the sake of agreement. This is because of social pressure to conform and not to be the odd man put. There may be some personality conflicts that may create interpersonal obstacles which may diminish the efficiency of the process as well as the quality of the decision.
Group members share responsibility, therefore, no one member takes the final responsibility. In group decisions, the responsibility of anyone single member is diluted.