There is another type of decision making process that involves a group of people who act collectively to analyze problems and evaluate alternate courses of action to come up with a solution. Group decision making may commonly require a number of people ranging from 2-7 to participate in the discussions. These groups may either be formal or informal, depending on the goal they want to pursue. Their effectiveness will be dependent on the size, demographic nature, purpose, and structure. Additionally, some external factors such as conflicting goals and time pressure can also affect the development of their decision making process. Methods used by group decision making include the following:
- Brainstorming method involves members of a group actively participating in the suggestion of ideas and alternate course of action.
- Nominal group technique functions when members respond to requirements in order to compose a list of ideas or proposals in relation to alternatives that can be in written form.
- Delphi technique can be done when members are located in various places but still share their ideas, inputs and alternate solutions to solve a particular problem.
Its effectiveness can be influenced by many factors, so it is not suggestive that this type of decision making process is better all the time or otherwise. To make it look more convenient for readers to understand, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making.
List of Advantages of Group Decision Making
1. Provides Greater Alternative Solutions
Due to the number of people involved with this process, it can take advantage of the expertise and strengths of the members. So they can generate greater number of alternative solutions with higher quality compared with just one individual doing the task.
2. Collective Understanding
The essence of group decision making may lead to a higher collective understanding of the course of action to be chosen. This is because many may have possibly been a part of the decision through their own ideas and suggestions.
List of Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
1. Slow at Making Decisions
Due to the number of people involved in making decisions, it can consume more time than allowing an individual to make it his own.
2. Potential for Group Polarization
Another disadvantage when relying on group decision making is group polarization. This can happen when the group will converge to a more extreme solution for a particular problem. Thus, it can result to a risky shift when majority of the group decide an extreme decision. This is because they will feel lesser responsibility or accountability for their actions compared to only one person making the decision.
3. Still Much to Learn
For a lot of people, this notion of group decision making is a continuous life process. So there is still a lot to learn about the functioning and development of groups when handling critical situations. Of course, it will require more research about the effectiveness and efficiency of group decision making and on how external factors faced by these groups will affect their functionality.
Crystal Lombardo has been a staff writer for Future of Working for five years. She is a proud veteran and mother. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our editor-in-chief a message here.