Group Dynamics and Decision Making Process

In cases where decision making involves technical aspects, tools and applications come in handy to the group members, whereas in situations that warrants identifying potential issues and challenges, brainstorming and discussions play an important role. How do groups arrive at decisions that are mutually understood and accepted? What are the different dimensions involved in the group decision-making process? These are some of the questions addressed in this paper that illustrates the dynamics of group decision making through practical insights and examples. Group dynamics and decision-making process Groups comprising of a number of individuals provide an effective platform for enhancing performance at the workplace or achieving common goals and objectives that form the primary reason for forming a group. Working in a group is riddled with challenges since individuals from different backgrounds, attitude and opinion come together to work towards common goals (O’Connell amp. Cuthbertson, 2009). Coordination and cooperation among the group members can be challenging since arriving at a single decision requires mutual understanding and empathy between the group members. The diversity in opinion, outlook and perspective clash at each stage of the decision-making process – thereby causing conflict and failure to arrive at a single decision. However, the benefits associated to working in groups cannot be undermined since collaborative ventures can be more fruitful and have expanded potentials in terms of achieving the desired outcomes (foundation coalition, 2011). In order to overcome these challenges decision-making process within groups is guided by certain norms and statutes that help the group in arriving at a decision. The effectiveness of decision making in groups is realized in the fact that an individual could not have taken the decision alone, the decision provides a perfect solution to the problem, the decision is based on unbiased inputs provided by group members and contributes to the group objectives (foundation coalition, 2011). Johnson and Johnson in their book (2009) describe five distinct methods of decision making that include decision making by authority, decision making by a majority, decision making by a minority, decision making by expert and decision making by consensus. Among these methods, decision making by expert and consensus are widely used in most scenarios. Group discussions and problem-solving processes in groups are often presided by experts who can provide their valuable opinion and views in the context that helps the group in making the final decision. Often the expert is one of the members of the groups and in some cases an external individual might be consulted or asked to preside over the discussions to enable the group to take judicious decisions. However, the primary challenge in this decision-making approach lies in identifying a key member of the group or external individual who is acknowledged as an expert in the given context by all members of the group. Group members who do not view the expert as an authority may be reluctant to implement the recommended decision (O’Connell amp. Cuthbertson, 2009). Decision making by group consensus is commonly applied in teams working towards common goals and objectives. The term consensus implies that all members of the group or team wholeheartedly agree to a particular solution or decision to solve the existing problem.