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Session 17: Team Decision Making

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Hannah Weiser

on 19 December 2017

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Transcript of Session 17: Team Decision Making

What assumptions did your team make? Did you separate assumptions from fact?
What was your team’s objective in the simulation?
Did teams brainstorm and withhold critical judgment of ideas while considering alternatives?
Did your team agree quickly?
After today’s class, you will apply the lessons of the Cascades exercise to group decision making techniques, and engage with your group to make better decisions.
Key Concepts:
Strengths and weaknesses of group decision making
Group decision making Productivity
Rational Skills & Processes compared to Interpersonal Skills & Processes
Constructive, Defensive, and Aggressive/Defensive Group Styles
Improving Group Problem-Solving & Decision Making Effectiveness
Team Decision-Making Techniques
Today's Agenda
Simulation Discussion
When teams
Adopt a Constructive interaction style
Approach problems in a rational, supportive manner
Then the interactive efforts of people working together will have a greater impact than the sum of their independent efforts
Group vs. Individual Decision Making
Group Productivity
Rational and Interpersonal Skills and Processes
Tap full potential of group members
Produce effective, consensus solutions
Group members focus on satisfaction (need for affiliation, achievement)
Constructive, Defensive, and Aggressive/Defensive Group Styles
Team Decision Making
Steps in the Rational Decision-Making Model
Interpersonal Skills and Processes
Don’t tap into constructive differing, creative thinking, and individual initiative
Produce less optimal solutions
Group members seek to fulfill need for security (need for approval/acceptance)
Aggressive/Defensive Group Styles
Lead to inferior solutions that are limited by expertise of members who gain control over the group
Generate solutions that are of unpredictable quality, and rejected by some in the group
Group members seek to maintain status/position and fulfill their needs for security through task-related activities (need for power/control)
Improving Group Problem-Solving & Decision Making Effectiveness
Team Decision-Making Processes
As individuals:
Seek out opportunities to practice group decision making
Solicit feedback on rational/interpersonal skills
As a group:
Actively work together to create a more constructive interaction style
Set goals for improvement
Monitoring progress towards those goals
Simulation Applied
Interpersonal Processes:
Actively listening to others
Supporting others
Differing with others constructively when necessary
Participating equally in discussions
Rational Processes:
Analyzing the situation
Identifying objectives or goals
Considering alternative strategies
Identifying obstacles & adverse consequences
Reaching a “consensus” decision
Occurs when the norms for conforming in a homogeneous group become so strong, and members are highly concerned about maintaining unanimity, that they fail to critically evaluate their options and consequently make a poor decision.
Janis, I. (1972). Victims of groupthink. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
Janis, I. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascoes. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin
Understanding Team Decisions
More knowledge becomes available
More alternatives generally considered
Avoids traps of oversight, blind spots, and biases
Improves acceptance of decisions
Can lead to “synergy”
Requires more time
Can be dominated by an individual or clique
Can lead to compromised decisions (group think)
Can lead to excessively risky or conservative decisions (group shift)
Leading Effective Group Decision Making Processes
The Brainstorming Technique
The Nominal Group Technique
Establish Ground Rules and Decision-making Rules
Nominal Group Technique
Inexpensive means to generate a large variety of ideas
Restricts discussion or interpersonal communication during the decision making process.
Group members are all physically present, but members operate independently.
Specifically, a problem is presented, and then the following steps take place:
Before any discussion takes place, each member independently writes down his or her ideas on the problem.
After this silent period, each member presents one idea to the group.
The group now discusses the ideas for clarity and evaluates them.
Each group member silently and independently rank-orders the ideas
The idea with the highest aggregate ranking determines the final decision.
The chief advantage of the nominal group technique is that it permits the group to meet formally but does not restrict independent thinking, as does the interacting group.
The Delphi Technique
Brainstorming is meant to overcome pressures for conformity in the interacting group that impair the development of creative alternatives.
Groups generate more complete information and knowledge.
They offer increased diversity of views.
This opens up the opportunity for more approaches and alternatives to be considered.
The evidence indicates that a group will almost always outperform even the best individual.
Groups lead to increased acceptance of a solution
It is time consuming.
There is a conformity pressure in groups.
One or a few members can dominate group discussion.
Group decisions suffer from ambiguous responsibility.
Whether groups are more effective than individuals depends on the criteria you use
In terms of accuracy, group decisions will tend to be more accurate.
On the average, groups make better-quality decisions than individuals.
If decision effectiveness is defined in terms of speed, individuals are superior.
If creativity is important, groups tend to be more effective than individuals.
If effectiveness means the degree of acceptance the final solution achieves, groups are better.
Individuals tend to be more efficient than groups
Eight symptoms characterized by Iriving Janis in
Victims of Groupthink
book in 1972
illusion of invulnerability
- excessive optimism encourages extreme risks
Collective rationalizations
-Group members rationalize any resistance to the assumptions they have made.
Unquestioned belief in the group's inherent morality
- inclines members to ignore ethical actions
Stereotyped views of outgroup
- groups discount rivals' abilities
Direct Pressure
- Members apply direct pressures on those who momentarily express doubts.
Self Censorship
-Those members who hold differing points of view seek to avoid deviating from group consensus by keeping silent.
Self-appointed mind guards
- protect the group from information that runs counter to the group's assumptions
Minimizing Groupthink
Monitor group size.
Encourage group leaders to play an impartial role.
Appoint one group member to play the role of devil’s advocate.
Utilize exercises that stimulate active discussion of diverse alternatives without threatening the group and intensifying identity protection a
Example of Groupthink: 12 Angry Men
For Playback errors, Youtube: Groupthink 1 12 Angry Men
For Playback errors, Youtube: 12 Angry Men (2/10) Movie CLIP - It's the Same Knife! (1957) HD
Interacting Groups
Most group decision making takes place in interacting groups.
In these groups, members meet face to face and rely on both verbal and nonverbal interaction to communicate with each other.
Interacting groups often censor themselves and pressure individual members toward conformity of opinion.
Good for achieving commitment to a solution
The next slides introduce techniques proposed as ways to reduce many of the problems inherent in the traditional interacting group.
In a typical brainstorming session, a half dozen to a dozen people sit around a table.
*Leads to more group cohesiveness!
The process:
The group leader states the problem clearly.
Members then “free-wheel” as many alternatives as they can in a given length of time.
No criticism is allowed, and all the alternatives are recorded for later discussion and analysis.
One idea stimulates others, and group members are encouraged to “think the unusual.”
Activity: Do Teams Work in the Workplace? You Decide!
We've learned a lot about individuals in the workplace and now teams. Now it is time to determine what you think. Read the following perspective on groupthink and brainstorming and then discuss whether you feel teams are effective in today's organizations in a group of 2-3 people.
(1) Do people work better together or alone? List at least three reasons to support your response.
(2) Then, despite your views on team vs. individual productivity, note which you prefer and why. Be prepared to share your thoughts with the class.
Establish Rules
Voting/majority rules: avoid whenever possible
Does not promote quality solutions
Useful for fast and/or fair decision making so common
Consensus: seek whenever possible
Best way to reach synergistic solutions
Be careful for premature or forced consensus
Thorough but time consuming
When reaching consensus is difficult…
The most qualified person in the team makes decision
Develop contingency solutions or collective experiments
Decision Making Rules
Establish Ground Rules
Set guidelines for how disagreements get handled in advance
Critical rules for creating constructive conflict:
“Conflict or disagreement is necessary and should be handled openly”
“Stick to the facts when discussing disagreements”
“All points of view need to be heard” (multiple perspectives)
“All possible alternatives need to be considered” (multiple alternatives)
Unique in using written responses to a series of questionnaires instead of physically bringing individuals together.
Questionnaire asks for response to broad question with subsequent surveys built from the one prior
Process ends with a consensus
Perform a project "premortem" - imagine what might go wrong and avoid it before spending a cent or having to change course along the way
*Consider a Decision Making Tree! Diagrams in which answers to yes or no questions lead decision makers to address additional questions until the end of the tree (avoids errors such as framing bias)
After completing the Cornerstone Simulation...
Full transcript