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Decision Making

Posted on: June 13, 2011

There is no doubt that decision making is not an easy process, especially if the decision is to be a rational one. We often make group decisions rather than individual decisions in the areas of work, family, and school. When we are part of a family or a student in school, individuals become team members. Why do we prefer to be in group situations when making organizational decisions? Exforsys Inc. (2011) defines the importance of individual decision making and indicates what the advantages and disadvantages are for these decisions.

Individual decision making: a traditional decision making process without a group that is most likely used by managers.

Advantages:

1. Immediate action and fast solutions

2. Sole responsibility, no one to blame

3. Full accountability

4. No arguments

5. Efficient in time and effort

Disadvantages:

1. One perception

2. No one available for discussion

3. Time consuming for an indecisive character

4. Lower level of motivation

5. Limited creative solutions

When one person makes a decision, it can be easy and convenient. We do not have to ask to convince anyone about making a choice. The only thing one has to do is ask themselves about what is the best choice. However, for myself, I can be very indecisive. I often have to ask for another opinion. It could be rational or irrational, effective or ineffective or even a group decision. Let’s look at the group decision making process. The website, Reference for Business, (n.d.) lists the methods and procedures for group decision making and also illustrates the advantages and disadvantages.

Group decision making: a decision making process involving with more than one individual or group to analyze and solve same problem or situation.

Advantages:

1. Benefits of the diverse strengths and knowledge of each member

2. A greater number of alternative solutions and opinions

3. High quality decisions

4. High decision acceptance and commitment

Disadvantages:

1. Longer processes and slower decision making

2. Conflict between members or opinions

3. Occurrence of group thinking

4. Domination of a powerful member

5. Group polarization

Like individual decision making, the group making process involves the positive and the negative. Groups are able to generate more ideas and evaluate them effectively and efficiently during the team discussion. Many organizations accept the risk of the disadvantages and form the group or team to lead projects or to solve problems. The group creates high quality and quantity of alternatives from which to choose. It also provides various perspectives that help to understand and analyze situations.

What needs to be understood to build an effective team or to motivate this team? Robert A. Sevier (2005) has suggestions for both areas. He believes that talent, vision and goals are important when analyzing group creation or motivation. He also asserts that these qualities are not enough. Sevier emphasizes that the team members should think about how they work together. Sevier also stresses that “as you progress in team building, there will be less ‘me’ and more ‘we'”. Now that I understand this, I think about how many times I say “I” and “you” in group meetings instead using “we”. I use the word “I” to support and carry my opinion to others rather than sharing it.

In a team situation, a star is not important. Let’s look at the Canuck game on June 10, 2011. It was the 5th Stanley Cup game against the Bruins. Some may think that the star of the game was Maxim Lapierre who scored the only goal or maybe Roberto Luongo who did not allow any Bruin goals. I think that everyone on the team was a star. Hockey is a team or group sport. With each member’s effort, I strongly believe that we had a great win that leads us to one more game for the Stanley Cup. We should remember that there is no place for ‘me’ in a group. It is only ‘we’ that exists. We should thank all members of the Canucks, both on and off of the ice. Go Canucks go!

References

Barnett, Tim (n.d.) Group Decision Making. Reference for Business. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Gr-Int/Group-Decision-Making.html

Exforsys Inc. (2011, February 27). Individual Decision Making. Exforsys Inc. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/decision-making/individual-decision-making.html

Sevier, R. A. (2005). Making the Right Choices. University Business, 8(11), 31-32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Image source:

http://mikesslowroad.blogspot.com/2010/08/decision-making-is-bad.html

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4 Responses to "Decision Making"

From my research, as well as from general experience, I find that creativity can actually be an advantage resulting from individual decision makers, especially, because group thinking tends to occur when decision making is made within a group. Even though a greater number of ideas can be generated in a group setting, none of those ideas can be as creative as those generated on an individual basis.

Thus, for these reasons I think it is important for management to recognize what kind/ type of solution or idea needs to be generated. If a creative decision is required then an individual decision maker might be better, but if a solution that everyone will be able to easily agree on is needed, then a group decision making discussion might be more beneficial.

I did my post on how creativity flourishes on an individual basis, and that groups might actually hinder creative thinking. Read it at: http://bit.ly/j1lhYp

Thank you for commenting. I also think creativity (innovation) is important. Also, it is true that in group there is no “mine” or “your” idea. It is “group’s” idea. However, I think that the idea should be generalized in some point. If it is not generalized, it is just idea. The idea could be abstract or unrealistic. By communicating and evaluating with others, the idea could become an opportunity that can changes and improves situation.

I noticed one of your advantages in individual decision making could be a disadvantage as well. I’m referring to “sole responsibility” and having no one else to blame for the outcome of your decision but yourself.

I think one of the reasons people prefer to make decisions in groups is so their is a general consensus. This groupthink mindset may limit risks and out of the box thinking, as a result of comformity or fear. However, on the other hand, like you had mentions in the advantages of group decision making, many different creative ideas could emerge.

Either way if the outcome resulted as unfavourable, group decision making allows for the blame to be placed on all group members instead of a sole individual.

Just a thought!

I think your article shows how important it is for people in a organization to have respect for each other and have similar vested interests so that they can the disadvantages of group decision-making are decreased. Just like the video we saw in class, having people that you are comfortable and confident in makes it much easier to collaborate and express ideas freely. Companies like Apple are examples of companies that have struck a good balance, finding people who have the same interest of pushing computing beyond limits, and still not reluctant to encourage ideas. Group decision-making that is not encumbered with bureaucracy is beneficial to everyone.

Apple and Innovation
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2004/nf20041012_4018_db083.htm

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