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Group Decision Making – Components, Advantages & Disadvantages | Organizational Behavior

Group Decision Making

Decision-making is the act of selecting the best option among several alternatives. A group may make a decision using the consensus mode or by majority vote. The process of reaching a consensus occurs when everyone agrees to the decision reached. An agreement reached by majority of the group participants is referred to as a majority vote. The group’s size will mostly determine whether a majority or a consensus decision is reached.

Components of Group Decision Making 

Components of Group Decision Making 

The following components of group decision-making should be considered:

1) Group Size 

Researchers have found that, as a problem-solving group’s size increases beyond a certain point, the quality of the decisions made by the group decreases. Because of the pressure of the group, decisions are influenced more heavily. A research study found that groups consisting of five to seven members are effective for making decisions, but the ideal size has yet to be determined. A group of this size gives its members an opportunity to express their opinions, listen to one another, clarify any points that are unclear, and come to a unanimous decision. Larger groups are not able to accomplish this. Nevertheless, it may be necessary to have a larger group when different skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise from different functional areas are needed to make decisions on critical issues like developing a new product.

2) Group Composition 

Group decisions are also affected by the qualifications of members. Due to their background or expertise, group members with higher status are more likely to exert subtle pressure, manipulate force or otherwise influence the other member’s thinking. People from minority groups are often highly influenced by group pressures.

3) Unanimity of Group Consensus 

If a group is divided by disagreement, a united group exerts greater pressure. Consensus doesn’t require unanimity, but it also doesn’t require outright disagreement either.

4) The Risky Shift

According to research, people tend to make riskier decisions when making decisions in groups than when making them individually. It is common for members of a group to make risky decisions as they will be jointly responsible for the consequences of such decisions rather than one member bearing the entire burden. Risky shifting is the phenomenon of groups making risky decisions. Since individuals are responsible for the consequences of their decisions, they tend to make conservative decisions.

Advantages of Group Decision Making

Advantages of Group Decision Making

The group decision-making offers the following advantages:

  • Groups usually have more knowledge, expertise, and skill base to make better decisions than individuals do.
  • A larger group of participants can provide a broader perspective on the problem. Making decisions thus avoids the narrow view of a single perspective.
  • As the number of group members grows, the participation also increases, which contributes to quality decision-making.
  • A high level of comprehension of the final decision reached is usually followed by increased participation by the group.

Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

Making decisions in groups is not always successful. There are the following disadvantages as well:

  • It takes a long time to make decisions in groups.
  • Influential members manipulate the group’s decision in their favor and according to their interests.
  • There are times when decisions made by the group are simply a compromise between the various views and options offered by the members.

Group Decision Making Quiz

Group Decision Making Quiz

Which of the following is not an advantage of group decision making?

Which of the following is not true about group decision making?

Which of the following is an advantage of group decision making?

Which of the following is not a way to avoid groupthink in small-group decision making?


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