Group decision making is necessary and one of the best ways in current times to ensure that proper decisions are made that meet the requirements or expectations of the en tire organization.
However these groups are as a result of detailed research on the employees ability, and willingness to be in these groups this is because there is no way individuals c an be forced to make decisions or come up with solutions to existing problem s if they do not want to or they lack the ability to do so.
In organizations there m ma y exist several types of groups which maybe as a result of different organizational objectives or different organizational inclinations. Besides these formal groups there also exist informal groupings within an organization though these are more concerned with the development of individual goals and looking after the employee’s welfare.
It is these formal groups though that is of concern in this paper.
We start with examining how they are formed as this will, help in later analysis of why these groups succeed or fail in their operations.
To form groups there are two elements that must be present one is that there should be the technical element and secondly here must be the social element. (Ivanevich 2007).
The social element
This is that which brings the individuals together and makes them act as a group, it is more of a bond that exists between these individuals and which gives them a ground to found their discussions, the social bond is essential to every organization as it provides that cohesiveness within the individuals.
Absence of the social element may lead to a breakdown in communication which is the backbone of group decision making processes.
This provides the knowledge or the ability to handle the issues available for discussion by the group. Failure to have the technical aspect would obviously lead to the group’s inability to deliver or realize the intended purpose or decisions.
Once these two factors are present it is usually the responsibility of the management to ensure that these individuals are arranged in such a manner that they realize the goals of the organization this may be done in view of the intended role of the group, An example is if the group intended to raise solutions of a functional unit t hen it would not make sense for t his group to be constituted b y individuals from other functional areas as t hey may lead to a technical breakdown..
The other thing that is essential in group decision ma king is appropriate allocation of resources to meet all t he requirements that may be as a result of the groups operations, this will ensure that the group’s activities are not crippled. . (Jackson and Mathis 2007).
Another major issue in constituting a group the leader or management should ensure that there is no barrier that exists between the group members this may be as a result of difference in language or at some extent these barriers may exist as a result off past social differences between certain individuals. If such exist it is advisable to iron them out before the group starts its operations as t his will ensure that each and every member of the group is fully participatory irrespective of who is leading t he group or w ho is in a general way coordinating the activities of the group.
All these factors are aimed at achieving team or group cohesiveness which if not present no results would be realized and in any case results are realized they may not measure up with the group’s potential and ability.
Types of groups
There are several types of work groups; these are mainly determined by the nature of their decision making or composition some of these groups include.
Additive work group
These are the kind of groups where all individuals have similar roles and are a given time s pan to complete these roles. After this time lapse they may gather back for comparison or evaluation of in formation gathered.
In these groups members have different duties or roles but which are related, this may involve breaking up a task into various functions where each of the individuals within the group is expected to handle a distinct stage of this function, but the end result is the realization of a common goal.
In these kinds of groups each individual must complete their given roles to achieve the overall goal.(Robbins 2002).
Under these types of groups members converge to look up for a solution for an identified problem, they may either come up with a solution to the problem or offer an alternative. There are two tasks involved under these groups
Judgment which involves a choice between several alternatives that may have been earlier discussed or borrowed from another similar context such as the existing one.
Decision making-Under this the group members have t o come up with an alternative that works best for a given situation.
Group decision making process
One of the advantages of a group is that its members bring in different perspectives to and often divergent understand dings of the problem and its symptoms. If not adequately manage, however this advantage may translate into a disadvantage, at this stage the groups should attend to two objectives. (Jackson and Mathis 2007).
-Being clear of the language used and what it means.
-Questioning assumptions and perceptions.
Stage two- Gather
Groups barely make decisions in an empirical vacuum. Intelligence involves gathering relevant data which should be both objective and subjective. That is pertinent to the decisions the group must take. As new data e merge it is common to see the problem redefined.
Stage three-Choose and determine
You make unprogrammed, rational decisions by evaluating options using one or more criteria. Frequently how ever criteria are not ma de explicit, so the reasons an individual has for preferring one option to another remain hidden to other group members. The resulting con sequence is that the group perceives this person’s preference as somewhat irrational. For a group y succeed in decision making each group member must make public and explicit it the criteria important to him or her. And because all criteria are not the same you also need to state the relative importance or weight of each criterion.
Stage four-Explore and generate
This is choosing a solution that seems to solve t he problem without continuing to look for a better solution. While one solution may be inadequate, superior solutions stem from thinking that is initially divergent, creatively exploring the solution space before agreeing on a solution, there are two types of solutions.
-Mutually exclusive solutions
Fifth stage-Evaluate and choose
This stage involves systematically evaluating each potentially viable idea against the criteria and choosing the best option.
As seen there exists several types of groups and each group may have its own and very distinct experiences however some experiences are common to the whole range of groups.
These experiences may either have a positive impact in which case the result is a successful venture or may have a negative impact in which case it is regarded as an unsuccessful venture.
For a group to realize the results stipulated it definitely has to have the two essential elements which were discussed at the beginning of this paper that is the technical and social element. The others may come in as supplements to support the decision making environment.
The following aspects also determine the success of a group ink decision making.
A group need have a fully representational membership, by this we men that anyone who is directly responsible for decision needs to participate. Others who are supposed to be part of the group include all those who are affected by the decision even in a minor way, as this is not always possible the facilitators should always involve persons who can credibly represent various stakeholder groups.(Robbins 2002).
Group size should never be used to limit participation instead the groups meetings should be scheduled in a way that these individuals are available and participate fully.
These assume responsibility for guiding the group through the process of decision making. Ideally the facilitator should be someone who has no stake in the outcome of the decision. When it is not possible to engage an external facilitator the group might consider asking someone from another unit in the organization to facilitate the meetings.
For effective decision making always involve the client or sponsor, this ensures that they understand and subsequently support the recommendations.
– Head of the table
Since the facilitator may not necessarily be aware of certain aspects of the decision he need to have someone beforehand to whom he consults to keep the decision on track. This ensures that the decisions are successfully made.
This is the person responsible for documenting everything that is discussed within the group meetings. This person should be able to reconstruct the process used to reach the conclusion.
Sometimes the groups’ uses information technologies in which participants do no t directly interact with the computer to support decision making. They do this by using spreadsheets or
complex software, thus in this case the consideration to have an analyst is essential.
Proper chemistry between these individuals ensures that proper decisions are made and that the whole decision making process is successful. . (Ivancevich, 2007).
Unsuccessful groups are as a result of improper evaluation of the abilities of the group members, inadequate funding or failure to ensure any of the above factors are considered or put in place.
Groups’ poor performance
Authoritative decision making
At formation the group may have certain individuals who are given certain responsibilities such as the chairman these individuals may surround themselves with a lot of authority , to an extent t hey undermine decisions or ideas generated by individuals, furthermore t hey act as a barrier to free discussions. The decisions that these people m ay adopt are not what the members have agreed but those he may think as fit, this undermines the member’s spirit and decisions leading to poor performance. (Ivancevich, 2007).
Minority decision making
This is the case where certain individuals form alliances within the group and bull doze decisions, they may give actions that look like decisions, and they hurriedly come up with such solutions and enquire on agreement by the other group members who may not have had time to conceptualize. They take silence to mean agreement and jump to other discussion points.
Majority decision making
Majority agreement does not mean consensus which is one thing that individuals do not understand this means that those decisions which are popular and agreed to by most of the members may not offer the best alternatives or solutions and this may lead to poor performance once implemented.
Ivancevich, J (2007).Organizational Behavior and Management, McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Jackson, J and Mathis, R (2007). Human Resource Management 12th edition. South Western College Pub.
Robbins, S (2002). Organizational Behavior, 10th edition. Prentice Hall.
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