Group Decision Making Processes

Introduction

Group decision making is form of participatory procedure where in multiple persons acting collectively evaluate situations or problems, assess and consider other course of action and chose the best solutions or solution among the identified action. The number of individuals engaged in group decision making differ greatly based on the situation, though they mostly range from two to seven. Unlike individual group making, group decision making can be challenging since more time is required to evaluate each alternative. To make a decision the group members may be force to research for a wide range of information. This can easily result to group conflict, prolonging the process further. To handle such problems, there are a number of group decision making techniques created to make this process to be more organized and effective. This paper reviews the application of three group decision making techniques that include brainstorming, Delphi technic and Nominal group technique recommending their application in three provided case scenarios.

Scenario 1

The best group decision technique to be employed in this case is brainstorming. Brainstorming is unstructured form of generating new ideas in a group discussion. This technique is recommended since it initiate the generation of new ideas based on ideas of others and thus, it eases the generation of the solution. Moreover, the group members share the same extroverts’ characters and thus, it will be easier to engage every member in the process of making a decision. In this case, no one has a specific idea on what should be done, however, the members are sure that something need to be done. Thus, the group can only be guided by a general agenda of resolving the problem at hand. Therefore, the best technique to employ to resolve the issue is brainstorming. The problem seems to have equal importance to all members and thus, it will be easy to enhance a discussion that can result to a solution since a similar form of attention is anticipated from all members. Moreover, an urgent answer is needed which means Delphi form of decision making would not be a solution (PSD, n.d.).

Scenario 2

The best decision making technique for the second scenario is nominal group decision making technique. This technique is recommended in this case because the group is heterogeneous based on individuals’ characters. Some group members are extroverts while others are introverts. This implies that, the decision may be made without considering the opinion of introverts since the meeting is normally dominated by introverts when other decision making techniques are employed. Nominal group technique of decision making is a structure technique for group brainstorming, which encourages the contribution of all members. It is normally used when some members of the group are vocal than others, when some members think well in silence, when some members are found not to be participating, when the group fail to easily contribute enough ideas, when there are new team members and when there is a heated conflict or controversies. Therefore, nominal group technique in this case will serve well in ensuring that the discussion does not only involve the few extroverts individuals in the group but it also engages introverts who may be having more ideas but are shy speaking out or intervening in heated extroverts debate. It allows writing of ideas other than verbal discussion and thus, ensuring that even the introverts participate fully in decision making. The fact that the process involves writing and thinking in silence enhances the group’s leader to get hold of the group control (Sample, 1984).

In this scenario, the group leader is unable to maintain group control and in most cases the discussion goes out of topic. This means that, normal uncontrolled brainstorming process will be hard to control and only when there is a systematic way of enhancing this process will the group manage to stay within their operation agendas. Thus nominal group will serve well since it forbids discussions and encourage thinking in silence in the first part of the session and thus, it is easier to ensure that members work within the anticipated limit. The discussion phase is controlled by the written ideas and each member is given a turn. Thus the chance of conflicting and creating heated debates is normally eliminated. Each member is given equal opportunity and at the end of the day, the main ideas addressed by the majority are considered. Flipcharts are used to document ideas and ideas are provided equal importance. Brainstorming is then done based on the ideas and their strengths. With this structured operation, the group will manage to come up with an agreed solution within a short period of time and thus, eliminating the chances of any delay that could be created if the group was to continue in the same messy condition (Sample, 1984).

Scenario 3

Delphi is the best technique to employ to make decision in this case. This is because Delphi involves a number of experts in decision making who can be contacted irrespective of their distance since the technique include the use of questionnaire. The problem in this case is very specific and can easily be solved by IT experts in any part of the world with a similar or almost similar solution. The nature of the problem create a greater chance of having a consensus among the involved experts. Thus even when situated apart, the group coordinator can easily initiate consensus from the group using round questionnaires. Delphi process can be iterated continuously until consensus is established to have been acquired (Hsu & Sandford, 2007). Normally three iterations are normally enough to gather the required information and to attain consensus. In this case, Delphi is very applicable since the group members are located in different parts and thus, questionnaires can be sent to them in each round until their response demonstrate a high sense of consensus. Delphi is normally time consuming based on the fact that the group members do not necessary sit on one table to answer the questionnaires. This may take a number of days before all responses are received and evaluated and another questionnaire set based on the response of the first until consensus is attained. In this regard, Delphi serves well in this scenario since the urgency of decision making in this case is about 3 months. Thus, the scenario offers enough time for Delphi implementation (Hsu & Sandford, 2007).

Summary

Group decision making can be quite challenging especially when the members have different characters, different views and when they take a problem with different weight. In this regard, the group leader need to understand his or her member to decide on the best group decision making technique to employ to be able to attain the required goals. Delphi normally needs experts’ decision making, uses questionnaire and its time consuming and thus it is more applicable in the third scenario. Nominal group is very structured, and normally used when members have diverse characters and can easily go out of control and thus, it is best applicable in the second scenario. Brainstorming on the other hand is unstructured and normally used where members have the same character. It also required where there is urgency, new ideas are needed and a similar magnitude of the problem is felt by all members. Therefore it is best applicable in the first scenario.

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