Importance Of Group Decision Making – Benefits And Advantages

What is Group Decision Making?

Decision making is selection of belief among the several alternative possibilities. It can be said that it is a process of identifying the right action among the various alternatives based on the values, preferences, beliefs of the decision maker. Group work is a key method of social work. It has been identified that there are basically four types of groups which include social group, reciprocal, remedial, and educative. A group works according to a helping process as it is assumed that group is formed to help the society. Below diagram clearly represent how a group works with the help of helping process:

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 In each and every stage of life, a person has to take the best decision among the different alternatives. It is better when this decision is taken with the help of a group. In this paper, the discussion will be made on the topic “group decision making is more effective than the individual decision making”. The decision taken by an individual without consulting others is called individual decision making but the decision taken by the group of people is called group decision making (Liu, 2014). The paper will take a hypothetical example of a society and how group decision taken by member of society can help in resolving the problem. The problem that is taken into consideration is the environmental challenges faced by the society.

Information plays an important role in group decision making. In a group, each and every member has some different information which helps to evaluate the right decision for the issue. It is difficult for an individual to have all the information that is available to a group of people and several individuals. Lack of information has a negative impact on the decisions; the decision should be right among all the alternatives. Detailed information is necessary to take the right decision which is gathered by a group of people. For example- In the case of environmental challenges in a society; group decision is more effective because members of different communities will have different information regarding the environmental issue which is beneficial in handling the challenge. In a group, one person can have information about the technical issues related to environment and how it can be handled and another person from the same group can provide suggestions about the finances that the resolution will require.

Types of Groups in Social Work

Diversity is also an important factor while decision making. The diversity comes into effect when the decision is taken by a group and not by an individual. It is said that heterogeneity is essential for successful decision making. Heterogeniety brings different points of views, skills and ideas together in order to make an effective decision (Doel & Kelly 2014). Group members play different role at different point of time such as initiating information giving, opinion giving, clarifying, coordinating, elaborating and summarising. In the group discussion, people have different points that affect the decision. Each and every member has its own point of view which helps in decision making. The diversity of view is an advantage of the group decision making (Shemla, Meyer, Greer, and Jehn, 2016). It is observed that each member of the group has the variety of talent and new ideas which helps in making the right decision. In individual decision making, a person can take the decision without discussing it with other members which leads to a negative impact on decision making. An individual is not completely perfect in every stream and it is difficult to have the various talents in a person. It can be said that an individual person thinks at a certain level which is not sufficient for the decision making. More members mean different point of view and different techniques to evaluate the things which help in taking a decision (Saunders, 2017).

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There are many decisions that require the expert’s opinion for the better decision. In individual decision making, an individual can take the decision with consulting with the experts which could be a wrong decision. But in group decision, the group takes the suggestion from experts by calling them or by organizing a meeting with them. Experts are the people who have experiences and they give better solution to the people. Expert advice is an advantage of the group decision making (Pérez, Cabrerizo, Alonso, and Herrera-Viedma, 2014). It is not possible that an individual has all solution and has experienced all the situations of life (Rezaei, 2015). Taking decision without any consultancy is not the best decision always. It can be said that for taking the big decision; it is necessary to take the advice of experts.  For example- In the case of environmental issues in a society the decision of the group can be taken by consulting an expert from environmental science. It is also possible that a member of the group only has good knowledge about environmental science and he/she can act as a consultant.  It has been seen that the leader consults with the group of people to take the better decision for the group and it also reduces tension of people so that they can take right decision at right time (Morente-Molinera, Pérez, Cabrerizo, Alonso, and Herrera-Viedma, 2017).

Benefits and Advantages of Group Decision Making

Increased participation is an additional advantage of group decision making. Group decision leads to better participation of different people. A group discussion usually provides a platform for members to present their ideas (Brahmbhatt, and Sheth, 2017). However, this can also lead to conflict in the group too. In individual decision making, there is less chance of conflict. But it is always better to have conflicts before implementing a decision so that the repercussions can be avoided. There are many conflict management strategies which are suggested to handle the conflict in a group. These strategies mainly include Problem Solving negotiations (Owl), smoothing (Teddy Bear), Compromising (Fox), Forcing (Shark) and Withdrawing (Turtle) (Johnson and Johnson, 2006).

There is lack of creativity in individual decision making because an individual always takes the decision with the help of same ideas but in group decision process there are many new creative ideas gathered in order to take the best decision. The individual decision is less effective in the context of creativity and motivation (Cur?eu, Chappin, and Jansen, 2018). For example- In the real world, Creative ideas are very important to survive long in the society and to increase the productivity and efficiency of an individual; it is necessary to encourage them to participate in activities. Creative ideas help to identify the problem and easily conclude the solution (Pettigrew, 2014). Motivated states of group members increase the productivity; group decision making provides the platform to members to participate in the decision-making process and it also allows the group of people to present their ideas.

Elimination of personal biases is also an advantage of a group decision. As the number of members are involved in the decision-making process; the personal biases gets reduced. A discussion done in group leads to unbiased and reliable solution for all the group members (Davis, 2014). This participation and considering every person’s point of view eliminates the misunderstandings and reduces the personal biases from the group. In individual decision making, an individual considers the personal issues at the time of decision making which affects the final outcome. It is observed that the decision taken for any revenge is not the right decision. With a large number of people; the decision becomes more reliable and useful as compared to individual decision (Xu, and Wang, 2016). It is necessary to take the decision by eliminating the personal issues.

Increase in morale reflects that group decision making is more effective than individual decision making. Continuous interaction with the higher level increases the morale and satisfaction of the individuals. This also brings leadership qualities in the group members. There are different types of leaders found within a group. These mainly include Laissez-faire, Autocratic and Democratic. Each group members gets different experiences from such leaders while communicating. Increasing communication helps the society members to express their points easily and present their ideas in front of many people. Increasing communication helps the group member to coordinate with the higher level. It also helps the member to experience the situations; the experience helps to manage the problem-solving situations in the absence of the higher level of members and other members. Group discussion gives an opportunity to a member to share their experience which helps the other members to learn from him (Leary, and Baumeister, 2017).

Information Sharing and Expertise

Group members help the people to solve their problems for which it follows the helping process. The helping process states the relationship of a leader with its members, it explores the problems and gives them responses and it also creates the new opportunity for the people.

                                     

Group Theory has two basic functions that are task performance and maintenance of function. To maintain the performance and functions the group takes the critical decision together which reduces the risk (Allen & UNWIN, 2018). Risk taking is another factor which states that group decision making is more effective. There are many decisions which are risky and it is difficult for an individual to take the decision. Sometimes individuals do not take the decision as they are afraid of loss. Group member shares information on the particular issue and takes the risky decision which is beneficial for the group members. Every person has different information which helps to take the right decision on the particular issues and it can be easy for members to take the difficult and risky decision. Group members are familiar with the problem and discuss the outcomes of a decision and try to deal with the risky situations in a positive way.  The group decision is more effective in a risky decision or in the critical situation as compared to an individual decision-making process.

Team spirit is also developed in the group decision-making process when members of a group discuss the particular topic and take the decision jointly. Group discussion develops the spirit of teamwork which encourage the people to respects each other’s point of view. This not only leads to team spirit but also affects the final outcome of the decision in a positive way. This behaviour and treatment increase the respect of people for each other and thus leads to better team building (Lerner, Li, Valdesolo, and Kassam, 2015). Team spirit is a positive factor for the group because it improves the chemistry of a group and increases the probability of success. It also improves the ability and capacity of individuals to work together and boost morale. The spirit of working together makes the decision more reliable. Participation of every member shows the talent of the member which is appreciated by the others and it is also observed that the creativity of every member is also promoted.

Diversity of Views

According to Deindividuation theory, a leader has to encourage the members which help in taking the right decision at the time of critical situations (Johnson, and Johnson, 2006). Appreciation and promotion encourage the members to participate in the group discussion and give suggestion in taking the profitable decision (Herzberg, 2017). It is not possible for an individual to analyse its own talent and give new ideas always but it can be said the decision taken by an individual is not a creative decision always. Individual decision sometimes raises the conflict in others and creates the critical situations. A group can easily solve the conflicts by understanding the needs, wants, rights and goals. Group can easily reduce the conflict by maintaining the strong relationship with the each other; it also makes an agreement which satisfy the customer needs and goals (Deutsch, 1973). For example- In the real world, a decision taken by the leader without any consultancy of members raises the conflicts between leader and member. That is why it can be said that individual decision making is less beneficial for talent and team spirit as compared to the group decision making process (Greco, Figueira, and Ehrgott, 2016).

From the above analysis, it can be said that group decision is more beneficial. Sometimes, the result of the individual decision is wrong due to which society suffers loss. Group decision encourages the group members to participate in the activities where they can show their creativity. A number of people present their point of view which makes the decision more reliable and beneficial for members. Each and every member has different information related to the particular topic which helps to take the best decision among all the alternatives. There are many advantages of group decision in every stage of life such as team spirit, more information, and many others. Although individual decisions are not always wrong but it reduces the opportunity to make better decision. Thus, it has been concluded that group decision is more effective than the individual decision.

References:

Allen & Unwin. (2018) Making Groups Work. [online] Available from: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/academic-professional/social-work/Making-Groups-Work-Joan-Benjamin-Judith-Bessant-Rob-Watts-9781864483048 [Accessed 15/10/18].

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