In the business world, decision-making is a team sport.

Any organization has many stakeholders: employees,  management, investors, and consumers.  It’s important to consider all their needs and opinions when you make important decisions.

And that’s why many organizations adopt group decision-making methods. It builds consensus and motivates people to think as a team.

Group Decision-Making Techniques

Group decision-making techniques are the standard method in large organizations where a decision impacts multiple stakeholders.

We select our governments by voting. This is one of the most common group decision-making techniques. Company boards vote on major issues.

Let’s look at six of the most practical and effective group decision-making techniques:

  1. Group consultation:

Group consultation is one of the most common forms of group decision-making techniques. In this process, the CEO, chairman, or managing director of the business calls a meeting of the top management.

They lay out the problem or proposed plan, and ask everyone to share ideas, opinions, and potential solutions. For instance, the discussion could be about business expansion, a tie-up, an acquisition, or a merger with another business.

At other times, the discussion could be about creating a strategy to deal with a contingency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In a group consultation, all members are asked to share their thoughts. The CEO or the top decision-maker takes the call after listening to the group’s inputs.

  1. Voting:

Voting is one of the most common group decision-making methods. In organizations, it is common in board meetings where members make decisions based on the opinion of a large group of people.

You inform all group members of the problem as well as various possible solutions or strategies. Each person votes in favor of his or her preferred option. The option which gets the majority of the votes is usually chosen as the final decision.

One pitfall of this decision-making process is that the decision might not always be the best decision.

  1. Unanimous decision-making: 

This is considered the most difficult among group decision-making techniques as it requires everyone to agree to the same solution or strategy.

Getting a group of people to agree on one point is easier said than done. Different people are bound to have different opinions. Getting every person to agree to the same solution can be a Herculean task.

Try making everyone eat the same dish for lunch, for a start! You’ll see how difficult it is. In some countries, serious legal trials decided by juries need a unanimous verdict.

Unanimous decision-making is also known as consensus decision-making.

  1. Brainstorming:

You must have been a part of various brainstorming sessions during your educational and professional lives.

Brainstorming is among the most preferred group decision-making techniques in organizational behavior. Whether you want to come up with the theme for the annual fest of your college or the color scheme of the new logo,  extensive brainstorming is a useful method for generating ideas.

In a brainstorming session, each person comes up with ideas and inputs. People tend to use tools such as mind maps and whiteboards to jot down the ideas generated during a brainstorming session. Then each idea and option is discussed and their pros and cons are weighed.  Based on this evaluation, the final decision is taken.

  1. Nominal Group Technique:

In this method, the group members are apprised of the problem or topic. They focus on finding solutions independently and share the solutions by writing them on cards.

Each member is then given the opportunity to share his or her idea with the group. There is a brief round of questioning where the other members can seek clarifications on the ideas shared. After that, the members cast secret votes to come to a decision.

This is also one of the most common group decision-making techniques. One major downside is that the lack of transparency can reduce the effectiveness of this process.

  1. Delphi Technique:

The Delphi Technique is the last of the group decision-making methods that we will discuss here. In this process, subject matter experts from the organization are given the relevant information on the topic or problem at hand. They are also given l a questionnaire.

There are no face-to-face group discussions. All the members reply to the moderator, who then evaluates and summarizes all the solutions and rejects those that are not relevant. The members are then asked to repeat the decision-making process in accordance with the new facts. Multiple rounds of the process are undertaken until the group reaches a satisfactory and collectively-accepted decision.

This technique is used to make decisions where the other group decision-making methods are not adequate to come to a decision or when inputs from experts are needed.

Conclusion

Group decision-making techniques in organizational behavior are of great importance. Harappa Education’s Making Decisions course helps you familiarize yourself with the prevalent group decision-making techniques. It is a great opportunity to become a highly effective and respected decision-maker in all walks of life.


Explore topics such as Ethical Decision Making, Decision Making Under Uncertainty, Decision Making in Groups from our Harappa Diaries blog section and develop your skills.

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