There are 6 Forms of Group Decision Making in Organizations
Decision-making is one of the toughest parts of any innovation process, especially when working on complex challenges in a group context.
A leader can substantially ease this process by specifying the decision-making process that he or she is planning to use. To do this, that leader announces at the beginning of the discussion how the decision will be reached, as well as how much and what kind of participation is expected from the rest of the group.
Below are six different kinds of group decision-making processes and the pros and cons for each.
Unanimous decisions occur when all agree without reservation. They are easier for trivial matters, but very difficult for important and/or higher-pressure situations. Be careful not to confuse unanimity with consensus.
In a consensus, each person agrees to support the decision, though all may not agree, and gives his or her consent. Despite differing perspectives, all agree that they can live with the decision. Consensus is the process most likely to ensure that each person’s input is valued, heard and considered.
Majority rule decisions are made when more than half the group votes in favor. This process is used frequently in democracies, and rarely in organizations. Majority decisions, as with any voting situation, risk that you won’t have full support and that those not in agreement with the majority may do something less than helpful later. It also carries the possibility of establishing an “us” versus “them” mentality.
In this scenario, the group delegates the decision-making responsibility to an expert or small subgroup. This type of process is good for situations that do not require the entire group’s participation.
In an executive decision, the leader makes the call. Most decisions are executive, and should be. The big mistake is that often the kind and amount of participation leading up to this kind of decision-making isn’t what it should be. The best decision-making is typically a highly participative executive decision. This approach is critical when dealing with issues such as team vision and mission.
In this scenario, a decision is made by action, or more likely, inaction that forces a conclusion. It is a powerless form of decision-making and is best avoided.
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