April 20, 2013

RDM: Group versus individual decision–making

For our presentation, we all worked together in teams and made decisions collectively. However, there is an age old debate about the relative effectiveness of group and individual decision-making.

Since, decision-making is such an important part of life and businesses nowadays, I feel that it is important to address these two types of decision-making.

Individual decision-making: This can perhaps be thought of as the traditional way of making decisions. An example can be a manager making important decisions by him/herself. It is widely believed that when there is only a single person involved, making a decision can be relatively quick and easy. However, I believe that it should only be made when the decision does not affect anyone else (otherwise, it is likely to be met with resistance).

Group decision-making: This is more of a collaborative effort. It can be done either via consensus or consultation. Consensus means that the most popular choice is selected, whilst consultation refers to a person (e.g. manager) asking others for their opinions when making a decision.

As the saying goes "Two heads (or more) are better than one", I believe that group-decision making (if done properly) can actually lead to a more robust decision. This is because input from all members is considered. Moreover, different stakeholders will be able to have their say in the criteria selection. Also, they will bring their individual expertise to the table and so more accurate assumptions can be used to reach the decision. In addition, there is a possibility of coming up with many alternative approaches to the problem. In order to make sure that these benefits are realized, we have to make sure though that there is no one person dominating others and that issues such as group think and social pressures are avoided. Only then, an effective decision can be made.


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