Strengths and Weaknesses of Group Decision Making

Chapter 15 / Lesson 1
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  • 0:06 Group Decision Making
  • 0:30 Strengths
  • 1:56 Weaknesses
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Group decision making is when a group of individuals tackle a problem together to achieve a solution. There are both strengths and weaknesses to this type of organizational decision making.

Group Decision Making

The marketing team at Messy Chocolates Candy just received a huge assignment called Project Omega Bar! They need to come up with a brand new chocolate candy for launch into the market in three months. The marketing team is very excited to work on this project and finalize a new candy bar through group decision making, which is when a group of individuals tackles a problem together to achieve a solution.

Strengths

The marketing team at Messy Chocolates has had tremendous success creating new ideas in a team environment. The team's last two bars were sales record breakers: Chocolate Truffle Deluxe and Shortbread Dark Chocolate Bar. The group is looking forward to using the team approach to come up with another blockbuster bar. There are two big advantages to group decision making in an organizational setting, which are synergy and the sharing of information.

Synergy is the ability to utilize many minds to develop a multitude of ideas, leading to a high quality solution. For example, the team was able to develop a list of over 50 different new candy bar ideas, including Sweet & Salty Potato Chip Chocolate Bars, Gummy Bear Chocolate Bars, Cracker Chocolate Bars, Apple Chocolate Chip Bars and a few other unique ideas. They would not have been able to be as creative if only one individual was working on the new idea.

The sharing of information helps the company make an informed decision. Each member of the group usually holds specific and unique information that, when combined together, makes for an overall educated, quality decision. For instance, one member of the group has in-depth knowledge of the competition. When the member spoke up about their competitor announcing a new salty and sweet bar soon, this made the team take an interest in that style of bar.

Weaknesses

There are some disadvantages to group decision making that can be overcome. One of the biggest weaknesses of group decision making is the development of groupthink. This is a process where the judgment, mental alacrity and effectiveness of the group's decision making is hampered by pressures from the group. Group members, such as those in the marketing team at Messy Chocolates, tend to want solidarity and usually think alike. Time constraints also lead to groupthink because the failure to develop a solution will cause friction in the group. This leads to rushed decision making.

Groupthink can be eliminated by allowing plenty of discussion time for evaluating alternative choices completely. Unrealistic time constraints should also try to be avoided. Messy Chocolates tries to avoid groupthink by providing generous time allotments and room for discussion of alternative choices. Messy Chocolates' marketing team spent over one week brainstorming different ideas and voting to proceed with the final bar choice.

The team also had to deal with the second weakness of group decision making: group polarization. This term focuses on how groups usually make decisions that are more extreme than the original thoughts and views of the individual team members. If the group members are cautious in nature, then the total group decision could be extremely cautious. If the group members are individuals who lean towards riskier behaviors, then the final group consensus could be an extremely risky choice.

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