Delphi Techniques

Topics: Decision making, Delphi method, Team Pages: 8 (1945 words) Published: November 2, 2012
Devil’s Advocacy

A technique for preventing group think in which a group or individual is given the role of critic during decision making.

• This process can be used to test the quality of the original argument and identify weakness in its structure.

• A devil's advocate is someone who argues against an idea, position, or cause for the sake of argument, rather than out of actual opposition.

• Devil’s advocacy can be used as a critiquing technique after alternative solutions to a problem have been developed, it can also be used during the early stages of the decision-making process.


- During a decision-making session one member could be assigned the role of devil’s advocate, expressing as many objections to each alternative solution to a problem as possible.

- It is a good idea to rotate the job of devil’s advocate so that no single person or group develops a strictly negative reputation.


Periodic devil’s advocacy role-playing is a good training technique for developing analytical and communication skills, as well as emotional intelligence.

Disadvantages :
1. It exposes some underlying assumptions but does so by exposing what is Wrong with them not what they should be.
2. If the censure prevails and the plan is rejected there is no new plan to replace it.
3.There is a tendency for management’s attitude to be destructive rather than Constructive.

Eg. Of Devil’s Advocacy practiced by organisations:
• Royal Dutch Petroleum regularly uses a international journal of scholarly academic devil’s advocacy approach. • Before making a major decision, such as entering a market or building a plant, Anheuser-Busch assigns some group the role of critic with the purpose of uncovering all possible problems with a particular proposal and making a case for each side of the question. • IBM has a system that encourages employees to disagree with their bosses.


• Dialectical decision making method is essentially a debate between two opposite set of recommendation, its a constructive approach as it bring out benefit and limitation of both set of ideas.

• Researcher has shown that the way a decisions is framed win-win v/s win-lose is very important.

• A decisions outcome could be viewed as a gain or loss depending on the way decisions is framed.

• Organizations that use dialectical inquiry create teams of decision makers. Each

team is instructed to generate and evaluate alternative courses of action and then recommend the best one. Then after hearing each team’s alternative courses of action, the team’s and the organization’s top managers meet together and select the best parts of each plan and synthesize a final plan that provides the best opportunity for success.


A range of ideas can be exploited.

Help focus on points of contension.

Provide the stimuli for creativity.

Provides a stimulus for brigding seemingly irreconcilable opposites.


Brainstorming is a process for developing creative solutions to problems.

Brainstorming works by focusing on a problem, and then deliberately coming up with as many solutions as possible and by pushing the ideas as far as possible. One of the reasons it is so effective is that the Brainstormers not only come up with new ideas in a session, but also spark off from associations with other people's ideas by developing and refining them.

There are four basic rules in brainstorming intended to reduce social inhibitions among team members, stimulate idea generation, and increase overall creativity:

No criticism: Criticism of ideas are withheld during the brainstorming session as the purpose is on generating varied and unusual ideals and extending or adding to these ideas. Criticism is reserved for the evaluation stage of the the process. This allows the members to...
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