Major decisions in organizations are most often made by more than one person. Managers use groups to make decisions for the following reasons.

  1. Synergy: Synergy is a positive force in groups that occurs when group members stimulate new solutions to problems through the process of mutual influence and encouragement in the group.
  2. Commitment: Another reason for using a group is to gain commitment to a decision.
  3. Knowledge and Experience: Groups also bring more knowledge and experience to the problem-solving situation.

Advantages of Group Decision Making

Compared with individual decision-making, group decision making has several advantages. They are:

  1. More knowledge and information through the pooling of group member resources;
  2. Increased acceptance of, and commitment to, the decision, because the members had a voice in it;
  3. Greater understanding of the decision, because members were involved in the various stages of the decision process;
  4. An increased number of alternatives can be developed;
  5. Members develop knowledge and skills for future use.

Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

Despite its advantages, group decision making also has several disadvantages when contrasted with individual decision making. They are:-

  1. Pressure within the group to conform and fit in;
  2. Domination of the group by one forceful member or a dominant clique, who may ramrod (ramifications) the decision;
  3. It is usually more time consuming, because a group is slower than an individual to make a decision;
  4. Disagreements may delay decisions and cause hard feelings;
  5. Group think may cause members to overemphasize gaining agreement.

Given the emphasis on teams in the workplace, many managers believe that groups produce better decisions than do individuals, yet the evidence is mixed. Two potential liabilities are found in group decision: group think and Group polarization.

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Principles of Management and Organisational Behaviour Topics