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What Is Group Decision Making?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Group decision making is a strategy that is utilized in a number of settings, including some businesses. The basic idea for this approach is to draw on the combined wisdom and experience of those participating in the group in order to make decisions that are highly likely to yield positive benefits. A strategy of this type may be employed in the organization of a specific project or utilized as a means of providing some degree of ongoing governance to a non-profit organization, a business, and a wide range of unincorporated groups.

One of the key advantages of group decision making is the potential for including people from diverse backgrounds and thought processes, so that issues facing the group can be explored from a wider range of perspectives. Doing so makes it possible to raise questions and concerns that might have been overlooked otherwise. At the same time, this broader diversity within a group setting also makes it possible to make use of the life experiences, talents, and formal education of several people in the task of not only identifying those concerns, but also developing workable solutions to those issues.

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Organization within a group decision making strategy will vary, depending on the setting in which the group functions. At times, the group may be highly organized with specific group members responsible for making final decisions based on the collective work of the group. The structure may also be somewhat loose in terms of allowing a free flow of ideas and thoughts that over time allow the group to reach some sort of consensus in how to move forward with a given situation. In many situations, the structuring of the group will depend on factors such as demographics related to the organization itself, and the type of goals set for the group problem solving initiative.

There is no one right way to engage in group decision making, outside of making sure the organization allows room for all participants to have input into the decisions that are ultimately made. When used effectively, group members develop a sense of ownership for the decisions made, often serving as a means of helping others who were not involved with the group catch the vision and understand the reasons why a particular decision was reached. This aspect of the group decision making is especially helpful in businesses and in volunteer supported organizations in which support from as many people as possible is essential to the ultimate success of an initiative.

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