Bba Business Communication Study Material Group Decision Making : Most Important Business Communication Study Material in English Language.
- All organizational decisions are group decisions.
- No decision can be taken without discussion that means a thorough examination of a subject for decision making.
- Discussion has five important ingredients – purpose, planning, participation, leadership and informality.
- A group has many advantages over an individual, the most important ones being its democratic character, diversity of views and the legitimacy of its decisions.
- Most of the decisions are taken by committees appointed by parent organizations. There are different kinds of committees.
- The role of a chairperson is very important. He has, first of all, to understand the ‘group personality.’ Only then he can successfully conduct a meeting.
- A command meeting is one called by a manager to consult his subordinates.
- ‘Group think’ and ‘group shift’ are the maladies that affect the decision making process in a face – to – face group interaction.
- To minimize the negative impact of these maladies three alternative group decision – making techniques have been proposed. They are brainstorming sessions, normal group technique and Delphi technique.
- The effectiveness of different group decision making techniques depends on the purpose for which the group members have to exchanges ideas.
- Conferences are larger and more informal than committee meetings.
- While the decisions of a committee are mandatory, those of a conference are recommendatory.
As we have seen in chapter 14 the first function of communication is to gather, process and share information for decision – making. All decision making in an organizational set up is group decision making. In other words, we cannot take any decision without consulting or discussing with the members of the group to which we belong. Any decision taken without discussion with the concerned group will be regarded as arbitrary. That is why most of a manager’s time is spent in meetings/discussions. Only rarely is an individual in authority left to take a decision on his own. Even the head of a family does not like to impose a decision on the other members. Nor do the other members of a group/family like a decision to be imposed on them.
The word ‘discuss’ has been derived from the Latin root ‘discutere’ that means ‘to shake’ or ‘strike’ from the same root, the work ‘discussion’ stands for an activity in which a theme/subject/matter is thoroughly shaken, inquired or examined so as to reach a conclusion or decide upon a course of action. It is different from conversation and debate. While a conversation usually becomes informal exchange of views or sentiments, a debate can be acrimonious expression of arguments for or against a motion or give line of thinking. It is discussion that lies at the score of all purposeful meeting or decision making process.
In the first instance the ingredients of discussion can be put through three P’s – Purpose, planning and participation.
Purpose is the first ingredient of an effective discussion. Just sitting to indulge in a freewheeling, pleasant, socially useful but aimless talking is not what an organizational meeting takes places for. Unless there is a clearly stated purpose the participants are likely to skip from one topic to another and waste precious time.
Planning in advance is an absolute must for a successful discussion. It means that we simply cannot rely on – the – spot, spontaneous outburst of feelings or ideas. Obviously, a leader or some members of group have to initiate the process of group decision making. It enjoins upon them to carefully prepare the agenda, give thought to what is to be discussed, inform the members in advance, and fix the date, time and venue and so on.
Participation is the very life of a good discussion. It means that each individual in a group is supposed to contribute to the process of communication taking place in a group set up. It has therefore been defined as “the cooperative pooling of all available information”. In reality not every member in a large group can contribute to the discussion. But they can and should, actively listen’. Active listening is also participation. In small group on the other hand, everybody speaks and enriches the discussion.
There are two other ingredients of discussion – leadership, and informality. Without a leader no discussion can be successful. It s the job of the leader to pilot the discussion. In this absence the entire activity may run haywire. In a large group it may become ‘chaotic’. A leader, therefore, is indispensable. It may also be added here that, in order to carry out his duties as a leader, he has to be assisted by a secretary.
Informality is desirable element in group decision making, although decision making in an organization is a matter of formality. The leader – member relationship in a discussion is essentially formal. But an effective leader is supposed to be one who encourages informality. It makes the members open up.
There is an age – old belief that “two heads are better than one.” It is commonly believed that a decision taken by a group is superior to a decision taken by an individual. Does it mean, then, that a group decision is always better than an individual’s decision? Are there any disadvantages in a group’s decision? Let us have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of groups in this concern.
Advantage of groups
- In the first place, a group is equipped with more complete information. An individual cannot have the same volume of information and knowledge that a group can bring into the process of decision making.
- Every group has more members/individuals than one. And every individual is unique. As a result, group decision making has the advantage of diversity of views. While an individual will look at any issue from his own point of view, the group has many approaches and alternatives to consider.
- Group decision making shows that there is no, one, single, straight solution to anything. It encourages lateral thinking that throws up new, creative ideas and solutions to problems. In other words, groups can always find out ways away from the traditional ones.
- Group decision increases the acceptability of a solution. When the parties affected by/concerned with a decision are themselves involved in its making through their representatives as members they are more likely to accept it. In this way the decision gets more support, and the group is more satisfied.
- Group decision making is democratic in its character. It, therefore, increases the legitimacy of the decision. A decision taken by an individual without consultation with other members will be looked upon as autocratic or arbitrary. It therefore may not be acceptable to many.
- By its very nature a group, especially a large one is heterogeneous. And heterogeneity has its own advantages. Many members in the group have expert knowledge of some area that the organization may be concerned with. Group decision has, therefore the advantage of expert opinion given by some will informed member.
- By the same logic, group decision making draws out the latent of the employees of an organization. In the absence of a chance given to them through a committee meeting. Many of the employees would remain indolent or indifferent.
- Group decision making ensures the safeguarding of the employees interest. An individual may not always be able to look after everybody’s interests.
- With the safeguarding of the interests of all, he employer – employee relations become cordial. Bound by decisions in which they are themselves involved the employees remain loyal to the organization.
- This automatically leads to the strengthening of the organization. No needs to say that decisions imposed from above, without taking the group/groups into confidence through discussion, often lead to agitations; lockouts etc., and weaken the organization.