Group Decision Making
Advantages of Group Decision Making
Committees, task forces, and ad hoc groups are frequently assigned to identify and recommend decision alternatives or, in some cases, to actually make important decisions. In essence, a group is a tool that can focus the experience and expertise of several people on a particular problem or situation. Thus, a group offers the advantage of greater total knowledge. Groups accumulate more information, knowledge, and facts than individuals and often consider more alternatives. Each person in the group is able to draw on his or her unique education, experience, insights, and other resources and contribute those to the group. The varied backgrounds, training levels, and expertise of group members also help overcome tunnel vision by enabling the group to view the problem in more than one way.
Participation in group decision making usually leads to higher member satisfaction. People tend to accept a decision more readily and to be better satisfied with it when they have participated in making that decision. In addition, people will better understand and be more committed to a decision in which they have had a say than to a decision made for them. As a result, such a decision is more likely to be implemented successfully.
Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
While groups have many potential benefits, we all know that they can also be frustrating. One obvious disadvantage of group decision making is the time required to make a decision. The time needed for group discussion and the associated compromising and selecting of a decision alternative can be considerable.
Time costs money, so a waste of time becomes a disadvantage if a decision made by a group could have been made just as effectively by an individual working alone. Consequently, group decisions should be avoided when speed and efficiency are the primary considerations. A second disadvantage is that the group discussion may be dominated by an...