The paper ‘Introduction to Management’ discusses the group decision-making adopted by organizations in Australia. It is a report on the increasing significance of group decision-making in organizations in Australia for meeting their organizational objectives. The research topic is the critical analysis of the subject of group decision-making in today’s contemporary environment of Australian organizations. The business culture in Australia and the role of individuals in the decision-making process are discussed for finding out its significance in the operational performance of organizations.
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In Australia, the business culture is mainly based on individualism. In the changing business environment, a quick response to the changes in the business environment is necessary for attaining success and business growth. Effective communication and social learning are highly significant for the success of business firms. Thus group decision-making is needed by the companies as a significant factor for effective communication. It is also essential for ensuring the involvement of all the levels of the organizational personal for the attainment of organizational objectives. Australian organizations are now considering group decision-making as an effective tool for communication as well as motivation with regard to the operational performance of employees and thus it is widely used by them for making decisions.
In today’s contemporary environment, Australian organizations, are utilizing groups more in decision-making in an effort to meet organizational goals. Critically analyze and report findings.
decision-making is the process of choosing a course of action from among alternatives in achieving desired goals. It is the process of selection on an alternative course of action that ensures the fulfillment of the organizational objectives in the most effective manner than other alternatives. It is the primary task of the management through which organizational goals are achieved. Thus the quality of decision-making determines the quality of the management. decision-making can be divided into individual and group decisions depending upon the number of individuals involved in the decision-making process.
Groups are an essential part of organizational life. In order to achieve the organizational goals effectively and efficiently, group derision making is essential. In group decision-making both inside and outside parties of the organizational structure are involved. In the present organizational environment of Australia, group decision-making has greater significance for achieving organizational goals. In order to analyze the significance and utilization of group decision-making in Australian organizations, a deep discussion on the business culture and the organizational structure of Australian organizations is essential.
organizational culture in Australia
organizational outcomes and strategies are greatly related to the business culture existing in the country. In the case of Australian organizations, groups and team-based structures are greatly used for decision-making purposes. As a part of group decision-making, professional communication is greatly used by manufacturing organizations in Australia. For achieving strategic organizational goals, intentional communication is essential. Thus entrepreneurs are required to ensure communication as a core organizational process. The decision-making process adopted by organizations in different countries is differentiated corresponding to cross-national differences in culture. Individuals involved in different cultures are differentiated in the decision-making process. The conflict between individual interest and group interest affects the group decision-making process. The research study focused on identifying the difference between Chinese and Australian decision-makers on the ground of cooperation revealed that cultural differences play an important role in determining the degree of cooperation in the decision-making process. In business organizations, there are individual goals and group goals for all of the organizational personnel.
In a mixed-motive game situation, the individual goals are conflicting with the group goals; i.e. maximizing personal interests versus maximizing collective interests. Personal interest maximization is referred to as defects and the maximization of collective interest is referred to as cooperation. In case all the individuals in the group prefer defects rather than cooperation it will result in failure of the group whereas defect is more profitable in nature. In the case of mixed-motive games, the interdependence of the individuals at a higher degree would restrict individuals from taking decisions adverse to the group and other members’ goals. Collectivism refers to a social pattern involving closely connected individuals behaving themselves as a part of the group. Individualism is the social pattern representing loosely linked individuals having a view of independence from the collectives. “According to Triandis (1995), individualism and collectivism are cultural syndromes that consist of many defining attributes. One such defining attribute is the degree to which individualists and collectivists distinguish between in-group and out-group members in social interactions.” (Chen & Li 2005).
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Group decision-making in Australian background
In order to enhance the work commitment on the part of employees, group decision-making is an effective tool. Every manager is required to take decisions in the organization; either in an individual capacity or as a member of the group. The managers as member of a group or a committee sit together and make decisions after mutual consultations and discussions. Such decisions are group decisions. Of course, group decision-making is a cooperative problem-solving exercise of the managers in the organization.
In Australia, decision-making meetings are carried on for formulating organizational policies and strategies and in such meetings, the independent viewpoints of individuals are expected rather than the mere follow-up of the boss’ viewpoint. “Except for situations involving large corporations, Australians are generally results-oriented. They prefer to make quick decisions and move fast to put their decision into action. In smaller businesses, one person could be the sole decision-maker for the entire company and might make a decision immediately. Australians are fairly conservative, however, and the decision-making process reflects this.” (Australian business culture: decision-making 2009).
Research conducted within the Australian Defence organization by the ELSA (Enterprise Social Learning Architecture) reveals that in order to develop and implement the information systems in the organization, it needs the better understanding of the cultural and interpersonal issues existing in the operational environment. The management and organizational learning process are facing challenges with continuous changes and uncertainty in the business environment. In order to review the operational strategy on a continuous basis, organizations need to understand the changing market conditions. In order to revive the operational policies and strategies, the shift in organizational processes and structures is necessary. For enhancing the organizational knowledge and its incorporation in the organization’s practice, support and contribution from all the levels of the organization are required. The group decision-making facilitates gathering information and knowledge of individuals for taking the optimum decision. Group decision-making helps to contribute the individuals’ knowledge and opinion in the organization’s practice.
Corporate behavior is the deciding factor of the degree of involvement of staff in the decision-making process in an organization. In Australia, citizens are widely expecting involvement of the organizations and corporations in social issues. Corporate leaders are not well versed in dealing with such issues. Australian organizations are less considering the fulfillment of their social responsibility. They do not incorporate social responsibility as a business culture in their core business practices. There exist four interrelated organizational processes. They are as follows:
- Normative receptivity in executive decision-making;
- hierarchical expansion of valuable information;
- value-discovery culture; and
- value-expanded detection of social issues by external affairs.” (Orlitzky & Swanson 2002).
Team in Australian background
In the Australian business culture teaming is a key management function. A positive and collegiate feel has to be developed among the project group for encouraging the group members. In order to be a good team player, the team members have to cooperate with each other. Internal competition is not allowed among the team members. (Australian team).
Individuals are different in skills, talent, and knowledge. By creating a culture of teamwork, the individual qualities can be unified in the most appropriate manner for the fulfillment of the organizational objectives. For the success of the team, mutual trust and respect have to be kept by the team members. (Blakely 2003).
In the team, each of the individuals has an opportunity for expressing their personal views and ideas. It is the success factor of the team-based approach of Australian organizations.
Importance of Social learning
Australian organizations identified the importance of the involvement of organizational personnel for their operational performance improvement. The implementation of an information technology system alone would not contribute to improved operational performance. For managing the organizational resources and organizational knowledge effectively, the participation of individuals for acquiring, sharing, and applying the information is essential. The social aspect of systems is important for the better functioning of organizations. As per the view of researchers in this topic, “a sound understanding of the organizational culture, human (social) interactions, communication, and relationships is required in order to make progress (Butterfield & Pendegraft 1996; Davenport et al., 1992).” (Ali, Pascoe & Warne 2002).
The organizational learning process is influenced by personal, cultural, social, and organizational factors. The research result on the Australian defense organization revealed that social learning provides greater benefit to the organization through improved organizational performance. Social learning is attained through interaction with the people and the environment. It is the learning process occurring within the boundaries of a group or organization. Such type of learning process improves the ability of the organization to react to the environmental changes in the most effective way. Successful social learning is made possible through openness in decision-making and cultural communication.
Employee trust and open communication are key factors in the social learning process. By co-ordinating the opinions of the employees in the decision-making process the trust between the employees and management can be ensured. Open communication strategy is adopted by the Australian defense organization and it facilitates to improve the individual’s performance. The levels of trust among the lower-level staff are much more than that of higher-level staff. Up to 80 to 84% of the lower-level staff felt that they were involved in the decision-making process which affects their work. At the senior level, the involvement of staff in the decision-making process seems to be only 30% to 32%. The involvement of staff in the decision-making process at the joint strategic setting and the single service strategic setting is 72% and 81% respectively. They have the opportunity to express their ideas and views about the changes that have been taking place in the organization. (Ali, Pascoe & Warne 2002).
To make a decision effective, managers are required to undertake a certain courses of action. Identifying and interpreting the real problem with in-depth study and observation is required for effective decision-making and its implementation. All decisions are based on information. Sound and adequate information are necessary for effective decision-making. If various views on the point are taken, with adequate weight, they will contribute to the effectiveness of the decision-making.
Effects of Group decision-making on the operational performance of organizations
Group decision-making facilitates the involvement of all the organizational personnel in taking decisions relating to their work. It facilitates access to the information system in the organization by all the organizational personnel. An effective and enhanced communication is possible through this approach. The normative accessibility expressed by the executives towards the values should be transferred to the other employees through the formal hierarchical channel. It facilitates the involvement of employees in the decision-making process by communicating their value premises through the chain of command.
In Australia and other western countries, individualism is shown in the decision-making process. In the Australian business culture, leadership is an effective way to motivate employees. The commitment of the senior management towards the individuals in the organization and delegation of leadership is the major motivating factors in Australian organizations. The employees in Australian organizations always prefer to work for leaders who respect their values and opinions. It is a part of the business culture in Australia. The success factor in most of the prominent players in the Australian economy is open communication on a regular and honest basis. Adequate feedback should be provided to the employees regarding their operational performance. But in the case of Australian managers, they hesitate to pass feedback on the poor performance of their employees.
It affects their business performance with continuing defaults on the individual performance. “Individualism is highly valued in Australia, and personal responsibility is an important and positive characteristic. Individualism, however, does not mean independence from others. Australians feel that they could not survive many of their formative historical experiences – namely “settling” the Australian outback and world wars – without their “mates”, a feeling at the roots of the Australian “mateship” culture.” (Henry 2005). Due to these basic cultural factors, Australian managers and leaders are facing difficulty in managing their employees’ poor performance. The organizational hierarchies in Australian business are mainly with the intention of clarity of decision-making. Employees need continuous leadership from the part of the senior level, and thus for the involvement of employees, better direction and guidance from the senior level is essential.
Demonstration of an understanding of management’s role in utilizing groups in their decision-making processes to achieve organizational goals
Management has a great role in utilizing the group abilities and skills for the formulation of optimum decisions suitable to different business situations. A good manager will effectively and efficiently make use of the abilities and skills of his subordinates in decision-making. If the managers are using the potentials and capabilities of the team members in decision-making, it helps in achieving the objectives of the organization. For the achievement of group goals, it is essential for the managers to effectively co-ordinate and control the resources both human as well as materials. The individual members in the group have their own goals and objectives. It is the duty of the manager to coordinate the individual goals with the group goals for the better fulfillment of group objectives. In the decision-making process through the integration of views and opinions of individual members, the managers can ensure optimum decisions which better considering the views and talents of individuals members.
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The discussion on the group decision-making in Australian organizations reveals that due to the specific organizational culture, individualism is dominating the decision-making process in smaller types of organizations. In the case of large-scale manufacturing organizations, the involvement of lower-level staff in the decision-making is allowed by the organization as it provides motivation to the employees. organizations are aware of the significance of group decision-making for achieving the organizational goals. In order to enhance the work commitment from the part of employees, group decision-making is effective. In the case of Australian organizations, groups and team based structures are effectively used for decision-making purposes. For achieving the strategic organizational goals, intentional communication is essential and by identifying these factors entrepreneurs in Australia are assuring the involvement of individuals in the decision-making process.
Ali, Irena M., Pascoe, Celina., & Warne, Leoni 2002, Interactions of organizational culture and collaboration in working and learning, Educational technology & society, 5(2), Web.
Australian business culture: decision-making 2009, Australian government, Australian trade commission, Web.
Australian team, World BusinessCulture.com, 2009, Web.
Blakely, Beth 2003, Create a culture of teamwork with mutual trust and respect, ZD Net Asia, Web.
Chen, Xiao-Ping., & Li, Shu 2005, Cross national difference in corporative decision-making in mixed-motive business contexts: The mediating effect of vertical and horizontal individualism, Journal of international business studies, vol. 36, Web.
Henry, Avril 2005, Leadership and Australian culture, CCH Australian limited, Web.
Orlitzky, Marc., & Swanson, Diane L 2002, Value attunement: Toward a theory of socially responsible executive decision-making, Australian journal of management, Web.