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Group decision making is a process of coming up with decisions or resolutions through a participatory process. In this kind of process several individual acts of collectively evaluating problems or circumstance, take into consideration and examine alternative channels of action in order to make the best possible solution to the prevailing stalemate or circumstance that inhibit success. The number of participants in a group decision making process may vary from 2-7 and the participants may also be varied demographical, ethnically and others. The approach taken by the group make a decision may be structure or unstructured. Whichever approach, the composition of the group in terms of demographical composition, size, purpose and structure greatly influence the outcome. External contingencies that the group faces also affect its performance and success. In this paper, I will be discussing one successful group decision or experience and an unsuccessful one based on the experience of team members. The papers will also discus the factors that lead to good group performance.
Experience of decision making Process
Successful group experience
The experience of group decision making shows that groups are capable of making both successful decisions and unsuccessful decisions. A successful group decision making process experiences are characterized by successful decisions. An example of a successful group decision making experience is consensus experience. A consensus is a decision reached at through embracing every group member's views. Consensus is an enriching group decision making experience in which every member has an opportunity to air his or her views without fear of being victimized (Dreu & Varies, 2001). This makes consensus a win-win group decision making process and experience. It encouraged group members to work out their differences and reach a position that is mutually satisfactory to every party. Although it is possible for the opinions or ideas of a single member to sway the perceptions and opinions of the rest of the group, consensus experience ensure that no information is lost since the input provided by each member is considered and embraced as a valid part of the solution. According to Dreu and Varies (2001) the reaching of a consensus may utilize several other decision making processes thus bringing along numerous experiences associated with theses process. However, the other processes are only utilized when there is absolute necessity for their utilization. The process consumes a lot of time and resources but ensure that group members are committed to the process of decision making thus encouraging making of creative decisions. The foundation of a proper consensus making process is based on common values within the group members, responsibility and commitment by every member, skill in group process, providing time and allowing everyone to express their opinions. In addition to depending on these elements consensus further helps in building them. Finally, consensus is a qualitative decision making process that take into account the needs, feeling and suggestion of every teem member.
On the other hand, an example of unsuccessful decision process or experience is groupthink experience. Groupthink is a faulty decision that occurs whenever a group passes decisions influenced by group pressure. In most cases group pressure has a negative influence on the efficiency of the members mentally undermining their mental judgment and reality testing (Breckler, Olson and Wiggins, 2006). A group that is under such an experience tends to ignore alternative solutions and embrace irrational activities which in most cases dehumanizes other groups. Any group may be come vulnerable to groupthink if it dose not take into consideration external opinions, if the members have a similar background and when it lacks clear rules and procedures on how to make decisions. According to Kowert (2002) the groupthink experience is characterized by several indicators that are commonly referred to as symptoms. These include an illusion of invulnerability which leads to too much optimism thus encouraging members to embrace extreme risks; self-appointed 'mindgurads' characterized by protection of the group and its leaders by the members from an information that is contradictory to the groups views or its decision or information that may be problematic to the groups cohesion; collective rationalization whereby all member ignore all warnings and adopt assumptions without any reconsideration; direct pressure on dissenters pressuring member not to state their misgivings on the group views; the members believe in inherent morality believing that their cause is indisputably right consequently ignoring the moral or ethical implications of their decisions; self-censorship characterized by withhold ones doubts on what the group embraces; stereotyped views of external groups characterized by negative perceptions of the rivals which undermine effective response to conflicts; and an illusion of unanimity where by the ideas and judgments of the majority are taken to be unanimous. When this sign occur in a group, the chances of a groupthink decision are very high. As Breckler et al. (2006) noted chances of groupthink are normally high when group member are under pressure to make the most successful decision and are highly cohesive at the same time. Members fail to evaluate realistically all the alternatives available to them. Group pressure encourages irrational thinking and carelessness as members to consider alternatives in order to sustain unanimity. Groupthink is therefore is an unsuccessful group experience that leads to unsuccessful decision.
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The group's good performance
The group's good performance is a product of several factors that ensured every team member stays focused to the group's objectives. The main factor that has been instrumental for phenomenon performance by the group is the timely making of successful decisions (Levi, 2010). Decision making process is an integral part of every activity conducted by humans. The group realized the importance of making sound decisions timely and came up with the modalities of ensuring that decision are made through full participation and reflect good will for the group as well as take into account the unique contributions of its talented members. As such the successful decisions have been achieved through a combination of these views that provided multifaceted solutions to the dilemmas that were face in the achievement of the success.
The success is also a product of good leadership within the group (Levi, 2010). Certainly sound decisions could not have been made without proper leadership to guide the process. Leadership was achieved by selection of a group leader who understands to every member's perspective and helps every member to make the best use of their strengths and overcome their weakness. Leaders lead by example and provide wise counsel to the led. Leader further helps ensure that there is organization which is another ingredient for success that the team enjoys. Organization ensures that all the group's objectives are placed into a proper schedule indicating what is required for every process and the time frame for the achievement of every objective.
The group also enjoyed good a rapport and communication (Levi, 2010). Good rapport ensures that members are in agreement with one another and can work together. Communication on the other hand ensures that the team member share useful information, goals, objectives, opinion and ideas. This communication has been useful in the making of the successful decisions that that have seen the group realize its phenomenal success.
The group decision making process is an important process that allow participatory search for solution to problems that are encountered by any group. Decision making experiences may be successful or unsuccessful. Successful experiences are characterized by successful decision while unsuccessful processes are characterized by unpopular and unsuccessful outcomes. Both successful and unsuccessful experiences have an effect on the member's group process and future participation. Finally, success in the group's performance just like decision making is a product of several factors. These factors include leadership, organization, communication and decision making which together create a proper recipe for success.