Do you prefer to make decisions by yourself, or is it your preference to solicit feedback from others before deciding on something?
Group decision-making processes encompass every element of the modern lifestyle, whether we recognize these opportunities or not. Personal and professional situations encourage us to look for additional information from others before finalizing choices. This method reduces the need to place all of the stress on a single leadership role while taking advantage of the benefits of diversity and experience.
Group decisions create forward momentum with individual buy-in of the final concept. That means everyone has a slice of ownership of the results that occur. It is a method that forces everyone to come together to implement solutions – even if there isn’t 100% agreement within the setting about what steps to take.
When reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making, it is essential to remember that at least two people must come to a choice together. There is no upper limit on the participant number.
List of the Advantages of Group Decision Making
1. Group decision making leads to a diverse set of experiences that influence the process.
This benefit articulates the diversity found in a group decision-making effort. Whenever you bring individuals together from different educational backgrounds, childhood environments, and career experiences, then a variety of perspectives can help households and organizations to reach a more favorable choice.
People who come from unique circumstances will always have diverse ideas to offer when compared to groups who all have a comparable life narrative to share. When you can engage the help of several people who can all contribute different ideas, then several new alternatives can become available that wouldn’t usually be present.
2. It creates more participation in the decision-making process from everyone.
It would be best if you had committed and enthusiastic people on your team when making decisions because their energy is the only way to create some buy-in for the process. This benefit is necessary for the personal and professional choices that teams make daily. When individuals get asked to join in a process that could affect their needs, then they are typically willing to look for innovative ideas and greater efficiencies.
Active participation allows for the creation of a successful outcome that works for everyone. Even when teams do not have access to specific expertise that addresses a particular requirement of an upcoming project, the feedback to each idea helps everyone to see things differently if there is a willingness to maintain an open mind.
3. Everyone involved in the process has more understanding of the choices made.
Individuals are unyielding to change when there is a general lack of understanding about why a shift in perspective is necessary. It is essential to realize that without communication, any decisions that do get made will encounter resistance within a group because there is no explanation as to why a new approach is necessary.
Businesses will create more acceptance of the outcome by engaging the entire group in a discussion about what needs to happen. Leaders may receive some unusual or provocative suggestions that could move them forward in a surprisingly better direction because there is a different perspective now available.
4. It provides opportunities for collaboration.
Active support in the group decision-making process creates a novel team-building occasion for the entire team. The structure inspires healthy discussion and intense debates about relevant topics when embracing this concept personally or professionally. Any action that works to coordinate the efforts of team members proactively can result in an efficient outcome.
This process also creates another advantage because a team member’s skills slowly transfer over to the others in the group, creating individual benefits as the company continues to develop simultaneously.
5. Group decision making creates team-building opportunities.
Teams work better when they’re working together. Organizations often create competitive atmospheres because of the idea that such a workplace encourages innovation. This approach might lead to innovative goods or services, but it also contributes to an adversarial atmosphere. Implementing a group decision-making process works to counter the impact of that approach because it encourages teamwork instead of individuality.
When everyone feels like they’re contributing something to the final process, then it reduces churn in the company while promoting higher levels of brand loyalty.
6. Making decisions as a group leads to stronger relationships.
Change happens whenever decisions get made. This outcome occurs whether it is through choices made by individual leaders or a whole group. When individuals come together to address the issues that they face when transformation becomes necessary, then the resiliency of the company increases. The chances that a cost-effective resolution that works within an acceptable structure gets discovered rises with this advantage.
Organizations benefit from this advantage because executive leaders are only as good as the people who are working in entry-level positions. This advantage eventually leads to a higher job satisfaction rating up and down the chain-of-command because teams become stronger with these investments.
7. It reduces the amount of risk that each person must make on controversial decisions.
Many individuals are reluctant to take on a risky decision because of the possible vulnerability they have to the outcome. When you place these people in a group setting, then the risk levels spread out to everyone instead of remaining with a single person. That structure makes it more suitable for the entire group to take a gamble with an innovative resolution instead of staying with the status quo.
Businesses benefit from this process because innovation often leads to better results. By encouraging intelligent risks where the payoff benefits are more significant than a potential loss through group decision-making processes, it is more comfortable for the entire team to find innovative ways to grow.
8. The group decision-making process leads to collective thinking.
The group decision-making process is advantageous because it contributes a diverse set of viewpoints that work toward a creative, positive outcome. It sets the stage for collaboration because it diminishes the impact of extreme views.
At the same time, the group can also strive toward a significant result that might be outside of the general structure of what they do each day. The entire process becomes advantageous to the teams willing to go through this investment because the eventual outcome is to create something mutually beneficial to everyone.
List of the Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
1. It takes longer for a group to make a decision.
Group decisions are beneficial when a lot of time is available to reach a conclusion. If speed is an essential ingredient to your process recipe, then individual choices are a better approach to use. People can reach rapid conclusions when they work independently because the need to reach a consensus disappears.
Every person who gets added to the decision-making process adds time to what is necessary to reach a conclusion. A two-person group can reach an outcome faster than a 10-person group. Both will operate faster than a 20-person group, and so forth.
2. Some people may contribute irrelevant experiences to the group discussion.
The group decision-making process encourages everyone to bring ideas and experiences to the debate. It is typically an advantage to use this structure, but it can also cause people to protect themselves against real or perceived harm to their families or jobs. Instead of contributing to a mutually beneficial outcome, some people contribute irrelevant or inaccurate experiences to mislead the group discussion to protect themselves.
Some experiences may seem helpful to individual contributors. The group discussion doesn’t benefit because those opinions or perspectives may come from a lack of knowledge. Instead of creating a brainstorming session, organizations can end up with individuals fighting over irrelevant ideas that don’t have anything to do with the choice that needs to get made.
3. There are no participation guarantees.
Some people choose to remain silent during a group decision-making process because they don’t want to contribute to the process. It can feel like a waste of time when someone can go in either direction with a choice. If everyone feels the same way on a team, then the leader who facilitates the discussion might need to make a unilateral decision anyway.
Social pressures can also keep some individuals silent when making a group decision. If someone feels like their opinion is contrary to what their direct supervisor thinks or feels, then not contributing is an action intended to preserve employment or a personal relationship.
4. Group decisions might feel that different priorities are necessary.
Group decisions can sometimes go in an unexpected direction. Instead of looking at the long-term vision, some individuals might focus on alternatives that provide short-term results. This disadvantage happens when people feel like their jobs or families would be threatened by the proposed results. When this issue occurs, then it can limit the number of available choices that receive discussion when a decision must get made.
The stubbornness of pride from this disadvantage can often limit groups to a handful of ideas instead of a diverse range of solutions. When this issue occurs, there is almost always a drop in efficiency.
5. A group can decide to go against the wishes of others.
Group discussions typically lead to a place where a decision follows the mission statement, vision, and overall objectives of an organization. Families reach a similar spot where they can implement structures for ongoing growth. That is the desired outcome, but it is not always the one that happens.
There are times when a group decision doesn’t accomplish the desired goals of a personal or professional need. It is an outcome that leads to future disruptive behaviors, reducing the effectiveness of the team. This disadvantage can even lead to movement away from the overall mission or objectives sought.
6. It can reduce the levels of accountability that are present.
When a group decides to take on more risk by making a decision together, then it can lead to individuals assigning blame to others as a way to avoid taking responsibility for their contributions. Although there is less risk to accept this process when compared to a unilateral choice, human nature doesn’t change. People with lower professional maturity levels will seek ways to make themselves look better at the expense of others.
Leadership teams can also struggle with this disadvantage when holding someone responsible for adverse outcomes. If a group decision-making process fails, then there can be a significant amount of uncertainty about who should bear the blame in the situation.
7. Group decision-making processes can lead to authority abuses.
Group discussions work to generate more solidarity and unanimity in the workplace. The belief is that by getting individuals onto the same page at the earliest possible moment, it becomes more natural to identify the differences, purposes, and concepts of the organization. It’s a process that families also follow.
There are times when an idea can be affected by someone in power over them, which enables a manager to control the discussion. This disadvantage causes some group members to become less involved with team decision-making efforts, which increases the risk of creating individualized approaches.
8. It can cause individuals to feel like they’re in a leadership position when they are not.
Companies require individuals to be in leadership situations because there must be people in charge of multiple daily activities. When group decision-making processes are a top priority, then some members of a team can begin to think of themselves as being in a leadership role with their employer. Most will use the little bit of power they receive in this process to benefit themselves, creating disharmony within the team environment.
When a manager says one thing and a team member goes in a different direction, what can everyone else do? The group decision-making process can lead to confusion when everyone isn’t on the same page. It can even create managerial conflicts when people decide to stop staying in their lane.
9. Group decisions can lead to individuals resenting the process.
Team members can decide to agree with differing perspectives because they prefer to avoid conflict instead of share ideas. Some people are too shy to put a controversial idea in front of the group as part of the discussion. That’s why it is not unusual for the loudest voice in the decision-making process to direct people toward a final outcome. Unless there are incentives to speak up, some organizations may never find ways to step away from this issue.
Group decision-making structures are a useful way to encourage individuals to share their diverse experiences and perspectives with the rest of their team. When a safe environment is available to offer this information, then organizations and families can use this data to push forward toward their desired goals.
The issue with group decision making is that the process is easily manipulatable. If one of the participants is a leadership team member who can control professional outcomes in corporate settings for workers, then fewer individual contributions happen as people look for ways to protect themselves. Families encounter a similar issue when control resides more with one person than everyone.
That’s why the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making must receive careful attention. This process can help managers facilitate discussions that create more ownership of the choices that get made each day, but it can also reduce contribution levels dramatically.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.