3.1 Group Decision Making
We're discussing problem solving and decision making, brought to you by the University of California, Irvine, and I'm Rob Stone. It can be done wrong, done badly, people can have confusion about it, or it can be done very well and be a very good group decision making method. Sometimes there are people out in the organization that have no clue what to do in a certain situation, not because they're not smart enough, they don't have all the information available to them to make a good decision.
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Well welcome back again. We’re discussing problem solving and decision making, brought to you by the University of California, Irvine, and I’m Rob Stone. This is module three, lecture one. And in this module, we’re going to talk about group decision making. In groups, we have to make decisions, and there are a number of ways to do that. And depending on the kind of decision you’re making, then you need to use different methods for doing that along the way. We’re going to talk about decision making in groups, rather than individual decision making. Although some of these will actually be ways to make decisions by one person. Common methods that we’re going to discuss. We can make decision by majority. We can make decision by minority. We can make decision by an expert. We can have an authority figure, somebody that just makes the decision, for the group, with no input from the group at all. We can have an authority figure that will make the decision for the group, but there will be input from the group before that decision is ever made. And then we can have a group decision called a consensus. And many of us have heard this term and have some idea what it’s all about. We’ll try to clarify that in just a little bit. It can be done wrong, done badly, people can have confusion about it, or it can be done very well and be a very good group decision making method. So we’ll talk about all six of these. First one, let’s talk about majority decision making. So what’s majority decision making all about? There’s some advantages to this. It’s familiar, it’s fast, many of us know how to do it, and we’ve known how to do this since we can remember, when we were little bitty kids. Majority decision-making is usually a vote. And you say, okay, how many think we should do A? How many think we should do B? Okay, looks like A wins that’s what we’re gonna do, off we go to do that. So can we do it? Yeah. Know how to do it? Yeah. Fast, easy? Yeah, all that stuff. There’s some disadvantages. First of all, people may not all buy into this thing. And if we’re in a team, we could leave some of our team behind. We’re working in some kind of a group, leave some of the group back behind. Because the group has done a majority vote, that wasn’t what these people agreed to, part of the group moves forward, the rest of the group does not. We may end up, because of that, with the results of this decision not being effectively implemented. So some people may say, you know, that just doesn’t work. I can’t go along with that, so I’m not going to. And I’m not going to help implement this. I’m not going to be involved in anything else the rest of this group does. I’m just completely finished. So what we’ve done with majority vote a lot of the time is divide the group right in half. We have 51% of the group happy, ready to move forward. We have the rest of the group not, and if we need this whole group to move forward together, this is not a good way to go about doing things. So, out of all the decision-making methods we’re going to examine, never use majority decision-making in a group. You want this group to move forward together? Throw that one out, scratch it off your list. You’ll go, but that’s how we do it all the time! Well, okay, fine, but when you’re working with a group of people, you want everybody to work together, move forward together, scratch that off the list. Minority decision making, what’s that all about? There are some advantages to minority decision making. An individual or small group of people are going to go off to do something that is part of the work the whole group is responsible for. But the whole group doesn’t have to go off and do everything. We have a group of people put together, because this person or this small group, they’re the experts in this one thing that our group has to do. They’re the best ones to do that. They know more about that than anybody else in the group. There’s another thing over here we have to do. And there’s somebody different. An individual or a small group of people, and they’re the experts on that part of the work we have to do in this group. The whole group is responsible together for all of the work we have to do, but we don’t have to all go off and do all the work together. If an organization were run like that, you have 300 people walking over here to do this and 300 people walking over to do that and 300 people walking over to do this, instead of 10 people doing that, 5 people doing that, 6 people doing this, 3 people doing that, 1 person doing that, and getting all those things done all at the same time. The whole group doesn’t have to go always all together and do everything. So that means we have small groups of people or individuals that go off and do work for the group. Sometimes, when they’re out there doing that work, they need to make some decisions. We just need to be clear with those people when we send them off to do some of this work. What decisions can they actually make? So now, we can actually have people out doing different things. The group can do a lot of different things all at the same time, and some people are going to have to make some decisions for the entire group. It allows us to get a lot of things done concurrently. We don’t have to all do everything all together. We need to make sure we have clear guidelines for this minority group out here making the decisions. Otherwise, they may do some things that we really don’t want to have done in our organization. Clear guidelines on how we’re going to, how these people can make decisions along the way. The parameters they can stay within. Disadvantages, well, there’s gonna be some group members who don’t have any involvement in making these decisions. Sometimes there’s not the buy in that we need. Clear guidelines, agreement that the minority is empowered to make these decisions. So if we’re gonna have some people that say, well, I wasn’t involved in that decision. We’ve had that discussion already. We had it upfront, before we ever even turned our minority group loose to go do things, and make decisions along the way. We had that discussion. We don’t need to have that discussion again. We’ve agreed, okay, within these parameters, that group can make decisions. We also have another way to make decisions, an expert. Sometimes, we don’t really know what to do to make a decision. We don’t have the information. An expert does. We bring an expert in from the outside to make the decision for us. Some advantages to this thing, fast, it’s easy, and a lot of times we get a much more accurate decision, or much better decision that we can make on our own, simply because we don’t have the information to make the decision. Disadvantages, again, there’s nobody in our group involved in this. Therefore, the decision, and our buy in to the decision, is only as strong as our trust in that expert. If we don’t have much trust in that expert, much faith in that expert, in their expertise, their ability to make a good decision, we’re gonna have less buy in. If we really think, yeah that’s the person that really can make the decision for us, wonderful, let’s move forward with that decision. So, have the right expert. Examples. Medical and health things, sometimes we don’t have the information to make good medical decisions. We have to be involved in our own health and medical decisions at some point. We have to make the final decisions about things. But we need some experts along the way to give us a lot of good information and sometimes to make some of the key decisions along the way, financial decisions. Sometimes in our household we may have the parents in the household that will finally make the financial decisions. We may get some input from the whole family, but we’ve got some experts here that really know about the money. Like, maybe mom really knows a lot about what to do with the money and how this should be handled. So mom makes a lot of the financial decisions in the family, that may be true in organizations. A lot of people working in the organization, they have no clue what’s going on with money that affects the bottom line of the organization. They know their piece in doing the work in the organization, that they know somehow has something to do with affecting the bottom line, but they don’t know all the financial issues and how to make decisions about key financial items along the way. And there are experts in the organization that do know that. Legal decisions. Sometimes, there are just experts that make the legal decisions. This is what the law says. This is what we have to do. There are organizational decisions that are made by experts in the organization, other kinds of organizational decisions. Sometimes there are people out in the organization that have no clue what to do in a certain situation, not because they’re not smart enough, they don’t have all the information available to them to make a good decision. There are people who do and they make the decisions, the experts in these things. We’re gonna look at authority with no input. Authority with no input is when we have an authority figure that says this is the decision. There’s no input from anybody in the group at all. There’s some advantages to this. It’s fast. It’s binding. This is an authority in the organization. Somehow in authority in that group, it says this is what we’re going to do. There are some disadvantages to this. Buy-in and support. Again, people were not involved in this, so their buy-in and support are going to be proportional to the trust that they have in this authority figure. Alexander the Great. All of the people that Alexander the Great led would go anywhere and do anything for him. Lord Nelson, who was a famous admiral in the British navy. We’re going to start over with that. Authority with no input, there’s some disadvantages. The buy-in and support are proportional to the trust and a belief that we have in that authority figure. Alexander the Great for example, led his army, led countries, led the world and everybody followed him, and he was a very beloved leader by the people that he was leading forward. He started that when he was 12 years old. He did some things that were amazing, outstanding. People saw, oh, this is a great leader. At 12 years old, his father brought him aside and said, son I’m going to turn my kingdom over to you at a certain time in your life, and there’s a problem with that because my kingdom is not big enough for you. You’re a strong enough, good enough leader, that the world is the only thing that will ever be big enough for you. We have Alexander the Great as a great leader, there’s a number of great leaders, great examples throughout history. Lord Nelson, from the British Navy, an amazing leader. Both of these leaders, Alexander the Great, Nelson, they both took very good care of the people that they lead. Nelson was such a good leader, that when he was killed in battle, the Admiral of the Fleet sent a signal to Nelson’s ship and told his men to send Nelson’s body over to the Admiral’s ship, because he was going to take it back to England. And Nelson’s whole crew pulled out their cannons, aimed them at the other ships and said no, we’re taking them back. He’s our leader, we’re taking him back to England. And they completely disobeyed all the orders that they were given and they took Nelson’s body back to England. He was a beloved leader again, he took good care of people. A lot of times, we’ll have good leaders that they are good leaders and there’s a lot of buy-in and support for what they’re doing because they are really looking out for the whole group. We have other times when we have some leaders, they’re not looking out for the whole group. They’re looking out for themselves. And so you can all think of people like that. And they make decisions that nobody cares about, nobody buys into, because they don’t care about the group. They care about themselves. So, the belief and trust we have in the authority figure has a whole lot to do with authority with no input.
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