Group decision making

Group decision-making focuses much on settling on well-considered and well understood tenable actions towards goals that every member of the group intends to achieve. In group decision-making processes, members of the group have to accept that out of the several courses of action, one has to be the most desirable in order for the group to achieve its objectives. Decision-making is just one of the many steps that are geared towards general problem solving processes within goal directed groups.

It is imperative that problems and issues are defined and thereafter alternative courses of actions brought into perspective. The advantages and disadvantages of each alternative has to be looked into so that the groups gets into a better position of evaluating and being in a position to know the most desirable course of action to take. Effective group decision-making has five aspects, all of which have subcomponents that affect the decision-making process.

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Subcomponents within the five major categories of decision-making and how they impact on effective decision making

Decision environment

This is a component of group decision making that has two major subcomponents, that is information and alternatives. These two subcomponents are a requisite in an effective decision making process since members of the group have to be informed about the undertakings.

Therefore, they can have their input into such issues when need be (Good, 2010). Once a decision has been arrived at, everybody who subscribes to the group must be ready for both the negative and positive effects of that decision. It is imperative that every member actively participates in the decision making process so that nobody cries foul and largely so that the personal and organizational goals are subsequently met.

When a group undertakes to gather information, they have to collect the necessary data and facts about the decision that they want to settle on. It is pertinent that the probability of each alternative is properly analyzed. In my group, the fact that we undertook a detailed information gathering process boosted our decision making process. However, the fact that we had many options to address the problem impacted negatively on the quality of the decision we arrived at.

It is very important that when groups are collecting information on decision making they make use of verified data. The fact that the data has been successfully used in other organizations implies that the probability of its success for a group is at least 50 percent. A group has to look at the likely risks that are to be incurred incase certain decisions are taken. This is very important as it makes a group to institute a risk management plan to counter the inherent risks that are associated with the decisions that are made or arrived at.

In group decision making, alternatives entail the possibilities from other group members that can be brought on board when decision making process becomes a near impossibility. Alternatives should always be tailored to aid in effective decision making. The time frame which was laid down within which my group was to make its decision was not honored because the availability of wide range of alternatives that existed, hence a longer period of discussion.

Decision Streams

Decisions that a group made in the past are likely to affect the decisions that they currently arrive at. This implies that decisions that are made presently are capable of affecting future decisions. Decisions that a group made in the past are likely to impact their current decision because the group is a single unit that boasts of one goal or goals.

Decisions that my group made were influenced by past decisions because most of the alternatives were adopted from the previous meetings. Another reason as to why we chose to rely on the past decisions was that they were successfully executed.

Members effectively contributed on the need for adopting previous decisions of the group into present circumstances so that a culture is put in place. Members were unanimous that such a decision can help in improving standards. Groups that effectively use past decisions in present decision making processes stand a chance to have a wide variety of pre-selected alternatives that are readily accessed.

The alternatives enable a group to make well thought choices or negate ineffective decisions hence saving on time and other resources. In decision streams, current decisions impact the future of a group. Moreover, it also has some influence on how decisions will be arrived at in the future. This helps in hastening the decision making processes. My group made decisions that were directed to the organizations long-term objectives.

Members of a group with similar goals have to make decisions geared towards improving their working conditions, making their pay packages attractive, and also ensure that the company benefits by widening its client base and accessing foreign markets. For example, a group can undertake to undergo coaching and mentoring so that it can gain knowledge on management and attain leadership skills. With these, they can be self reliant in an organization.

Decision making methods

The very distinct methods of decision making are the authoritarian method and decision making by minority. The authoritarian method is exemplified when the executive arrives at a decision relying on the available data and the knowledge that he or she has sourced for. Most organizations use this method in arriving at decisions because of the chain of command in such organizations.

However, some use it because it is easy and fast. They claim that it saves them on time and resources. In this method, five minutes are spent in decision making, thirty in explaining the decision to the organization’s employees and stakeholders, and another half an hour for the decision’s acceptance.

The major limitation of this method is that the information on the decision arrived at may be quite limited. People are also likely to make poor judgment. Finally, the risks that are associated with the decision are likely to increase thereby impacting on an organization negatively. Because the services of an expert in our group were heavily relied on in decision making process, we had to rely on an authoritarian method.

Group members raised concerns with this method as it interfered with their working conditions. It was also apparent that the customers were dissatisfied with the services that they were getting. The stakeholders were also not amused with the losses they were incurring. Decision made by minority integrates aspects of sharing of ideas and analysis by members of an organization. These members can be direct representatives of other employees within an organization in circumstances when an organization has very many employees.

When my group implemented this method, there were mixed reactions which in the end dealt a blow to concerns that were raised and improving the working condition of members. This method of decision-making takes approximately 30 minutes, no time taken in explaining the decision and gaining acceptance among the group members.

Decision making Strategies

Individuals charged with decision making have to settle on one alternative out of the many presented by members. This burden is lessened when components like ‘Optimizing and Maximinin’ are integrated.

In Optimizing, a group chooses the most feasible solution to its problems. The strategy encompasses vast alternatives. The group undertakes to analyze the importance of the problem, allocate time for solving it, and allocate resources to meet the expectations of the group members. We used the strategy because the group members are optimists pertaining to arrive at decisions that are likely to change their livelihood and better their working condition.

In the Maximinin approach, members have to maximize the minimums. With the strategy, an organization is better placed to know the negative effects of its decisions. The decisions that are made have associated risks attached to them. A decision that has least disaster is therefore arrived at. My group used this strategy to counter the losses that were incurred due to branch closures.

Decision making procedure

The steps that are involved in decision making include identification of the decision with goals that are supposed to be achieved and the final art of making the decision. The first step involves making changes to alternatives that are rated highly and delving into the facts of choices (Harris, 2009).

In the process, the organizations goals have to be met. My group identified the best decision to retain employees by motivating them. Decision making is followed by implementation of the decision. All members have to confirm whatever is to be considered as a final decision. The decisions we made as a group were first explained to those who were directly affected.

Poor outcomes

When members are used to specific modes of discussions like face to face, it becomes very difficult to introduce new methods. It is very important that the new mode be discussed in detail for it to enjoy wide acceptance. Care has to be taken to ensure that not much time and resources are wasted into trying to initiate such changes.

How group cohesion can be disastrous to decisions

Group cohesion can be counterproductive to decisions in situations when clear judgment about a problem has to be arrived at. My group used Maximinin strategy to avoid incurring losses associated with branch closures instead of improving service delivery. The decision was arrived at in a group but individual members were of the opinion that more resources should have been pumped into the project.

Informational and normative influence does also lead to poor judgment in decision making. Informational influence affects the dominant viewpoint taken by members of a group. In the process of members of a group trying to conform to decisions made by their colleagues, normative influence crops in. Group thinking stifles differing opinions.

Theories that support group decision making process include trait, contingency, and participative theory (Cherry, 2011). Trait theory postulates that group decisions are anchored on certain individuals who develop alternatives and support them.

This theory can make organizations arrive at disastrous decisions occasioned by group cohesion. Contingency theory postulates that decisions that are made should have the input of all members. It proposes that organizational success is dependent on quality of employees and good management.

Conclusion

Subcomponents of methods of decision process have both positive and negative effects on group decision making process. Some leadership theories can be helpful or counterproductive to effective decision making. Decision making process that involves a group rather than an individual is less time consuming. The only setback with group decision making is that contributions by certain individuals are ignored.

Reference List

Cherry, K. (2011). Leadership Theories – 8 Major Leadership Theories. Retrieved July 4, 2011, from http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/p/leadtheories.htm

Good, D. N. (2010). A Matter of Priority: Developing A Decision Making Matrix. A

Journal of the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection, 1-51

Harris, R. (2009). Introduction to Decision Making. Retrieved July 4, 2011, from http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebook5.htm