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Managing Organizational Behavior: Group Decision-Making

Group decision-making can improve the quality of decisions, provide a variety of perspectives, and assist in developing the skills of the members. Based on the recent meetings I attended, I will describe four problems related to group decision-making. Firstly, I might conclude that I rarely hear the opinions and proposals of all participants. The primary reason is that some people may not have confidence in their professional abilities or knowledge, so they are afraid to express their thoughts in front of the management. Another reason may be the lack of senior management’s engagement, appreciation, and rewards for employees who need to be encouraged for their good work.

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Secondly, the time spent at the meetings is usually productive due to the well-planned agendas and strict organizational procedures. Since time is a limited resource, the management leads the process to ensure that the meeting is concise, productive, and properly organized. Moreover, some senior managers tend to avoid the abundance of feedback/information during the meetings to prevent inaccurate data or “take the easy way out” instead of initiating time-consuming discussions (Sims, 2002). Thus, the rest of the participants miss the opportunity to express their ideas and contribute to the decision-making, so the company’s strategies become based on management’s approach rather than group suggestions.

Thirdly, the decisions are only solid when they are exclusively made by a high-status participant or a senior manager, while groupthink is still a serious concern at the company’s meetings. Groupthink causes cohesive working groups, or colleagues having positive workplace relationships, to search for an agreement rather than make unpopular decisions or criticize inaccurate facts (Sims, 2002). The phenomenon creates issues for the organization as it leads to the distraction of group members, lack of critical analysis, and the reluctance of employees to offer alternative strategies, which might create a conflict.

Finally, the meetings expose the problems with creativity and originality due to their time-limited nature and a strong influence of the senior management. The ideas are not explicitly discouraged, but the group leader dominates the discussions and leaves little chance for other members to speak. The management style in the organization can be defined as reflexive, which means that the primary decision-maker ignores any alternative suggestions to save time. However, the lack of originality and creativity increases the risk of mistakes and insufficient information, which results in a considerable waste of resources.

The success or failure of the company depends on the management’s ability to provide adequate results, so the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) might be introduced in the company. In response to the first problem, the NGT will ensure that all voices are equally heard, senior management encourages diversity of opinions and creates a safe environment for all participants. Employees should have an opportunity to communicate honestly with their managers about the needs or problems of the company, even if their opinions do not agree with management’s approach (Sims, 2002). The technique can resolve the second problem, as it helps to spend time productively and review different opinions and ideas before making a decision. The management will still need to allocate some extra time for meetings because proper group decision-making takes more time than the individual type, but it will offer better solutions (Sims, 2002). The NGT can also alleviate the third and the fourth concerns as the process encourages creative participation and consistency but prevents the domination of the leader’s decisions and groupthink that leads to critical errors.

Reference

Sims, R. R. (2002). Managing organizational behavior. Greenwood Publishing Group.

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