Individual Decision Making vs Group Decision Making

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Group development Pages: 8 (2847 words) Published: December 18, 2012
‘Given the potential problems associated with group decision making, organisations should rely on individual decision making whenever possible’. How far do you agree/disagree with this statement? From the days when working conditions were under the strict rules of Taylorism, workers these days are required to be equipped with various soft skills and not to forget, the important value of teamwork. Organisations present-day depend heavily on teamwork. Questions such as “what strengths can you bring to the team?” and “are you a team player?” are being asked by corporations whilst hiring new workers. However, behind these ‘teamwork’ scenarios, Hackman (2002) explains that reality imposes that majority of organisations were started and led by a single talented and courageous human being rather than by a team, no matter how many well-qualified members the team includes. Hence, is resolving matter in a group as effective compared to being solved by a single individual? Included this essay will be a simple explanation of the formation and development of groups as well as the detailed problems faced by group decision making. Additionally both problems faced by group and individual while deciding will be compared amongst each other and finally bringing to a close, which technique of decision making is better: group or individual. Plus, various real life examples of group and individual decision making will be brought in to strengthen the points laid out in this essay. Many authors such as Mackin (1993) take great care to distinguish the difference between the terms ‘group’ and ‘team’. However, as the debate on this particular topic is rather frustrating and not related to the main topic , both the terms ‘group’ and ‘team’ will be considered the same and be used interchangeably in this essay. For this reason, according to Katzenbach and Smith (1993) the more accepted definition of a team is a small number of people with complementary skills working towards a common goal and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. To simplify discussion purposes, it will be assumed that decisions made by homogenous groups and by individuals are similar in this essay. Not to forget, as the question insists about group and individual decision making, hence this essay will be elucidating about team and individual making decisions and not executing the decisions. Everyday, uncountable decisions are made. Actions are results of decisions. Some decisions are major and some are minor – what car to buy, how much would be spend on Christmas gifts, how much should interest rate be raised to reduce 2% of inflation. Simple decisions can be easily figured out by a single individual, however, once the problem gets more complex, it would be easier to settle it in a group. Nonetheless, it is first compulsory for a group to go through the process of formation and development. Smith (2001, p. 311) as cited in Berkowitz (1974), states in his article that many descriptions are available for the phrase ‘group development’ such as by Berkowitz (1974) who stated that group development ‘refers to the fact that group process undergoes modification which enables the group to have more alternative ways to solve problems’. However, the definition that best fits this essay would be provided by Sam and Galinsky (1974, p. 72) who affirms that ‘changes through time in the internal structures, processes, and culture of the group’.

Formation and development of a group: NEW GROUP Developmental stage Group/role process Characteristics FORMAL Orientation Uncertainty Developing Relationships

MATURE GROUP STORMING Confrontation NORMING Differentiation PERFORMING Collaboration Cohesive Commitment

Conflict over power and Shared Expectation influence

Souce: D.J Cherrington (1989, pp. 390-392) In the first developmental stage, which can be referred to as the social stage, is mainly on the concern of the group structure and the patterns of the role of members...
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