More Brains - Better Gains?

Supportive Approaches for Group Decision Making Processes

Seminar Paper, 2013

31 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Problem Definition
1.2 Objectives
1.3 Methodology
1.4 Relevant Definitions and Assumptions

2 Threats for Group Decision Making

3 Supportive Approaches for Group Decision Making
3.1 Individual Dimension
3.2 Group Internal Organisational Dimension
3.3 Group External Organisational Dimension

4 Tabular Overview of the Guideline to Support Group Decision Making

5 Conclusion


List of Figures

Fig 1: Matrix on Group Decision Making Support Approaches

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

Considering Niklas Luhmann (1998) every system is built on interactions. Connecting this with the classical four-sides-communication-model of Schulz von Thun (1981), a social interaction in a group seems to be very complex, and it is. Especially, if this interaction has to be purposeful and productive under an economically point of view. But, nevertheless, it is common understanding, that groups provide a better result in their decision making processes. But is this true – more brains, better gains? Many more or less famous wrong decisions provide counter-evidence, e.g. the challenger-catastrophe in 1986 or the disastrous Mount-Everest expedition in 1996. And it might be assumed that in everyday decision making in political as well as economic organisations many unpopular but harmful wrong decisions are taken due to group decision making (GDM) processes. So what is the exact problem?

Commonly the advantages of group decisions in relation to individual decisions are assumed to be manifold. Quantitative as well as qualitative increase of the action alternatives as well as the decision outcome is assumed due to the involvement of different decision makers. Also analytic expertise is expected to rise, which may improve the evaluation of action alternatives (Laux & Liermann 2005). Furthermore GDM is used to increase the acceptance of a decision (Robbins & Judge 2011).

But group decision making has also negative aspects. These are groupthink, individual opportunism or lack of individual engagement. These deficits and problems are discussed in detail in chapter 2, but so far it can be stated to be not serious to assume, that a group decision is in general better than an individuals` decision (Laux & Liermann 2005; Janis 1972, 1982).

1.1 Problem Definition

GDM is a complex process, containing several threats which provoke suboptimal or even harmful decisions. These threats have been evaluated by different scientific disciplines and related literature is offering several different solution approaches.

1.2 Objectives

The objective is to discuss solution approaches preventing wrong or inadequate GDM and to categorize them for better overview.

1.3 Methodology

In chapter 2 problems and threats for GDM-processes are identified. Chapter 3 discusses related solutions approaches according to these problems. In chapter 4 a matrix is designed, containing and categorizing the formerly explained approaches.

The focus of this paper lies on supportive approaches considering behavioural scientific or organisational approaches.

1.4 Relevant Definitions and Assumptions

The term „decision“ is as simple in colloquial use as it is manifold in science. For there are also very interesting information-technical and system-theoretical disambiguation, the definition used in this paper is based on organization theory and behavioural scientific approaches.

The simplest definition of a decision is: the procedure to select one out of several action alternatives. Beyond that a decision is always the result of a number of preliminary considerations. Considering this, a decision is in the following not understood as single action, but as process. This process may be split in the phases of (Laux & Liermann 2005; Jacob 2012):

a) Formulation of the decision objective or the problem
b) Formulation of objectives as measure to evaluate the action alternatives
c) Identification and analysis of the action alternatives
d) Selection of an action alternative

Every decision maker has several abilities. For this papers consideration the following are relevant: The characteristics of the motivation of an individual for a particular behaviour (e.g. the search for action alternatives) is determined by its needs and his expectations, how far this behaviour will serve to fulfil these needs. In other words, every decision maker will be motivated significantly by opportunistic reasons. Characteristics of the environment concern essentially the accessibility of information. This includes social networks as well as technical infrastructure. The factor of an individuals` power, respectively influence, describes its ability to influence the decisions of other persons. It may affect supervisors, peers and subordinates. In particular it can be used to set restrictions for action alternatives, manipulate relevant information, convince others of the own ideals or to change the results of different action alternatives by adding alternative-related sanctions or rewards (Laux & Liermann 2005). This determination underlines Rothmunds (2008) statement, that group decisions are not only influenced by group processes, but as well by individual-psychological processes, which is important for the differentiation of decision supportive approaches later in this paper.

For complex decision, often groups are favoured as decision makers. This results from the common assumption, that decisions out of a group decision making are better and more balanced than individuals’ decision. Significant for a GDM-process is, that after a phase of information exchange every group member (GM) will establish an own preference ranking of the identified action alternatives. The GM will also implement their own characters, knowledge and feelings in the GDM-process, be it consciously or unconsciously. Furthermore, every group involved in GDM may have an (also formal or informal) leading group member (LGM), taking responsibility for the groups work. This role will be discussed later again (Laux & Liermann 2005; Jacob 2012). As already implied there is interdependence among the GM, for any GM has the potential to influence any other. For negative expression interdependence is used for opportunistic goals. In the positive expression it is synergy, where GM coordinate and motivate each other in a way, that a performance is caused, which is above the sum of the possible individual performance of each single member (Keytons 2006).

For the further discussion it is assumed as a matter of principle that every GM is interested in a productive outcome of the GDM-process, for otherwise even a guideline would not be helpful. The kind of object of the decision making is not taken into account, even though it might have an effect on the process.


Excerpt out of 31 pages


More Brains - Better Gains?
Supportive Approaches for Group Decision Making Processes
University of applied sciences, Cologne
Soft Skills & Leadership
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
528 KB
Nach der Bewertung/Kritik durch den Dozenten überarbeitet.
more, brains, better, gains, supportive, approaches, group, decision, making, processes
Quote paper
Dipl. Päd. Thilo J. Ketschau (Author), 2013, More Brains - Better Gains?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: More Brains - Better Gains?

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free