Group Decision-Making Techniques

Introduction

In business, cooperation and timely creative decision-making constitute the core of the effective solution to a critical problem. The application of a competently selected group decision-making technique allows for eliminating such risk factors as intragroup conflict, inefficiency, tardiness, or bias since multiple individuals contribute to the group’s decision. Different types of groups in diverse situations require specific group decision-making techniques, which include brainstorming, the Delphi technique, and the Nominal Group Technique. The analysis of the three scenarios presented in this essay demonstrates how each of the techniques applies to the particularities of different organization-related situations.

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Scenario 1

For the situation when a company needs to find a creative and reformative solution to compete successfully, maintain customers, and sustain sales, the best group decision-making technique recommended for this scenario is brainstorming. The very description of the problem implies bold solutions that would lead the company’s marketing toward innovative and unexpected solutions capable of providing a competitive advantage. Brainstorming is the method that “encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy” but further transform into original solutions capable of triggering more effective ideas (Braintools, 2017, para. 6). Thus, the choice of this technique is validated by the particularities of the problem at hand.

In addition, brainstorming applies to this group due to the psychological features of the individuals. Since the members of the top management team in the company are all extroverts, it is obvious that they are likely to share their opinions and creative ideas with their colleagues. Consequently, brainstorming is the best group decision-making technique that might be recommended in this case because it is based on spontaneous and courageous sharing of some bold ideas in a group. It leads to finding outstanding and effective solutions to the most complicated problems by allowing all the members to contribute their creativity and experience to one idea, thus improving it. Given that the company experiences a crisis with sales falling and competitors overtaking the market, creative and bold solutions are the ones that might bring a competitive advantage and attract customers’ attention. However, for the brainstorming technique to be effective and not just waste time, this process should be competently guided in a structured and analytic way (Braintools, 2017). The well-guided brainstorming process will allow for the inclusion of all members in the discussion, controlling for conflict, and eliminating inefficacy.

Scenario 2

The Nominal Group Technique is the best method for group decision-making in the second scenario that might be recommended based on the company’s description. The conditions of the rising costs in the company require finding an effective and informed solution that would incorporate both the creativity and competence of the top management team members. Since the group consists of both introverts and extroverts, it is implied that introverts might find it intimidating and uncomfortable to share opinions openly in a face-to-face group discussion. In such a discussion without any ideas written down beforehand, introverts would not contribute as freely and creatively as extroverts, meaning that the consensus would not be reached with the consideration of all possible ideas. Indeed, according to the CDC (2017) article, the Nominal Group technique “encourages all group members to participate” (p. 1). Thus, this method allows for eliminating the risk of one person dominating the discussion or imposing a biased solution.

The procedure of the Nominal Group technique applies best to the situation and the group in the scenario. Indeed, all the members are asked to answer questions by suggesting effective recommendations for problem-solving and then grade the recommendations given by other members of the group (CDC, 2017). In such a manner, the recommendations are rated, and the best solutions are identified based on the most popular preferences of the group. Written questionnaires with the ideas retrieved from each group member inherent in the Nominal Group technique provide the individuals with an opportunity to share their opinions freely without the risk of interpersonal conflict or intimidation. Another benefit of the recommended technique is that it is conducted via the moderator’s guidance of discussions, ensuring that all of the ideas are taken into consideration. Ultimately, voting allows for introducing democratic interaction when making a decision and a commonly preferred solution to be selected.

Scenario 3

To find a solution to the problem outlined in the third scenario, the Delphi technique is the best recommendation. The choice of this approach is validated by the particularities of the problem that requires informed and competency-based decision-making, and the qualification of the members of the group. Firstly, the problem that the company management needs to solve is purchasing new software, which is a specific task that only individuals with specialization in digital technologies and software are competent to undertake. Indeed, the opinions and ideas of experts in the software field must be taken into consideration, which validates the utilization of the Delphi technique. During the procedure, “a group of experts exchanges views, and each independently gives estimates and assumptions to a facilitator” (Haughey, 2017, para. 2). Thus, using their experience, expertise, and knowledge of the subject, IT managers from all the divisions will be able to express their ideas, anonymously review the ideas of others, and ultimately help the facilitator to select the most effective and situation-appropriate decision.

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Secondly, the particularities of team members’ location and busy schedules do not allow for planning a meeting and limit the choice to the Delphi method. Since the decision is not urgent, the Delphi method might benefit the situation by providing an opportunity for steady stage-by-stage group decision-making consisting of problem definition, several rounds of questions and reviews, and ultimate solution choice (Haughey, 2017). This approach does not require a face-to-face meeting or actual group discussions, which suffices the conditions of the experts’ different locations and inability to meet in person. In addition, the Delphi technique allows for preventing the differences between the participants’ personalities from impacting the decision-making, since such difficulties might occur in a group of experts. Therefore, given the particularities of the described situation, the Delphi method would be the best technique for selecting the best software system for purchasing.

Conclusion and Reflection

In summation, the analysis of the three scenarios and the application of the knowledge about the nominal group, brainstorming, and Delphi demonstrated that the differences between these approaches are decisive for certain situations. The particularities of each problem and group require selecting an appropriate technique capable of meeting the demands and facilitating the best solution choice. As for my preference based on the types of decision situations in which I usually participate, the most useful technique for me is the Nominal Group Technique. Since I consider myself an introvert, I find it easier to share my opinion in a way that does not involve active interaction with others. Also, since much communication related to decision-making occurs in an online space, the Nominal Group technique provides the most effective problem-solving procedures. I think that this approach is most helpful because it allows all group members to make their contributions while engaging in a collaborative process.

References

Braintools. (2017). Brainstorming: Generating many radical, creative ideas [Data set]. Web.

CDC. (2017). Gaining consensus among stakeholders through the nominal group technique [Data set]. Web.

Haughey, D. (2017). Delphi technique: A step-by-step guide [Data set]. Web.

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