The Role and Appropriateness of Group Decision-Making

Discuss the role and appropriateness of group decision making in relation to individual decision making. Identify the disadvantages of group decision making over individual decision-making, and specify some techniques that can be used to overcome these disadvantages.

An organization can be defined as an institute, group or an association which has a specific purpose and goal. In order for a group to deem itself as an organization, there must be observable elements of cooperation and coordination within the members of the group in accordance to a pre-prescribed format. As such, key to the establishment of any organization is the presence of some common and quantifiable goals which are to be pursued collectively. In an organization, the role that an individual plays must be looked at against the background of the overall effects that his actions may have on the entire organization. The decision-making process plays a pivotal role in determining the success or failure of an organization. Decisions can be made by an individual or by a group depending on their type or the procedural requirements of a given organization. Whichever the preferred method may be, there are possible advantages and disadvantages that can be accrued from each.

Group decision making is very important to an organization. As has been said before, two minds are better than one. In an organizational context, it mitigates the possibilities of errors since all possible angles are debated upon and the best course of action. In regards to roles, it plays the vital role of ensuring that the organizational goals and objectives are shared by all members. This means that group decisions often promote teamwork, unity and efficiency since all members of the organization feel committed to the set course. Despite all these benefits, there are some major disadvantages of group decision making.

The most prevalent disadvantages as regarding to group decisions is that they consume a lot of time and the final resolve is often based on a compromise rather than the optimal solution. This may be costly especially in situations where quick decisions are required. Another disadvantage is that group decisions often lead to groupthink. This simply means that individuals feel obligated to agree to a dominant decision within a group. This leads to a situation whereby other opinions are suppressed and alternative solutions are not fully analyzed. In addition to this, the risk factor in group decisions is often higher than in individual decision making. In most cases, you find that the risk shift in a group decision is higher than would have been if the decision was made on an individual level. In addition too this, no one can take full responsibility of a group decision. As such, no one can be held accountable in case of a failure or success.

Brain-storming is one of the techniques that have been proposed to mitigate the disadvantages of group think. Through this process, all members have a chance to air their proposed ideas from which, the best alternatives can be evaluated. Another solution is applying the nominal group technique. This is a decision-making process through which all members of the group record their solutions privately and later air them one at a time until the most viable solution is reached. This technique is most effective as it provides high quality solutions because the members are not afraid of being ridiculed or judged by other members. As regarding to time wasting, the only viable solution is to ensure that each group has an efficient leader with a proven track record in decision making strategies. In so doing, the decisions of such an individual (especially where solutions are needed promptly) are regarded as those of the whole team.

Top managers are responsible for (1) creating a context for change, (2) developing attitudes of commitment and ownership, (3) creating a positive organizational culture through words and actions, and (4) monitoring their company’s business environment. Of these four dimensions, which ones do you think can also be significantly impacted by the day-to-day actions of middle managers, first-line managers, and team leaders?

Management entails the effective and efficient utilization of resources that are available to an organization with an aim of achieving organizational goals and objectives (Williams 7). It involves planning, organizing, leading and controlling of the organizations activities and resources. Managers are the people taxed with the role of marshalling the human resource in the organization for its growth and expansion. Their role is crucial and they must possess exemplary leadership skills so as to fulfill these tasks.

Middle managers are tasked with the duty of overseeing specific areas of operations (departments). As such, it would be a worthwhile endeavor to ensure that they develop attitudes of commitment and ownership within their subordinates. Middle managers cannot gain this by coercing the employees to work harder. Instead, an increase in productivity can be achieved if the managers invest highly on retraining programs, ensure availability of essential resources, and provide motivational attributes like bonuses, promotions and even pay increments to act as incentives. In so doing, they will have promoted these attributes all the while guaranteeing the smooth running of all organizational operations.

As regarding to the first-line managers who are responsible for the daily management of line workers, they should invest more on creating a positive organizational culture through words and actions. This can be done by nurturing a cooperative culture through which members feel obligated to work together towards the achievement of set goals and objectives. Line workers are the people involved in the production process as well as service delivery. As such, how they coordinate and perceive the organization determines the level of success or failure of the same. An exemplary first-line manager should ensure that his subordinates have a sense of purpose and is working towards the achievement of some organizational goals. He/she should also set out to generate and sustain trust between the administration, employees and clients. This will result in the promotion of hope and confidence amongst the organizations worker force. These qualities heighten the levels of optimism within the organization all the while boosting employee’s morale and guarantees future success in all organizational endeavors.

Team leaders are perhaps the most important people when it comes to facilitating change. As such, they should have adequate skills to monitoring their company’s business environment and creating a context for change. Team leaders should be able to inspire positive change among the followers and social systems. This is because the success of any organization depends mainly on its leader’s effectiveness and ability to inspire. Key to making a difference in the organization is the ability of the team leader to ensure that everyone involved buys into the ideas and concepts that they are trying to advance. In addition, the actions that produce a feeling of charisma towards a leader figure will invariably lead to an increase in the likelihood of the followers to ape the actions of the leader. With such qualities, a team leader can be able to ensure a smooth transition in times of change and employ defensive measures when the business environment becomes challenging. Such a leader can always count on the support of his subordinates. A good example is during the recent global financial crisis. An exemplary team leader possessing these traits would have analyzed the environment (SWOT analysis) and inspired his members to come up with adequate strategies to mitigate the effects of the recession or change appropriately to adapt effectively to the environment.

What advantages does the system’s approach to management offer that other approaches do not?

A system refers to “an organized collection of parts (or subsystems) that are highly integrated to accomplish an overall goal”. A system has various elements that work together towards the production of desired results or outputs. This means that a system must have other smaller subsystems if it is to function effectively. The system approach to management studies an organization as a whole. That means that it considers the enterprise, the internal and external factors affecting the organization and the man made systems created to facilitate effectiveness of the firm. In summary, the system approach to management enables the managers and other leaders to view their organization as a unified part in the overall business environment. The approach assumes that even the smallest activity of the firm has an impact on overall performance.

The system approach insists that managers should view all organizational actions holistically. It explains how external factors such as finance, people, raw materials and data can be utilized internally to provide products and services and complete the cycle. It is a universal approach that can be employed in all the management styles unlike other approaches which target specific management styles.

The decision theory approach to management concentrates on the various tools that can be used to ensure that suitable decisions are made. However, this approach does not cover management as a whole. In addition, the decision making process is just but a single aspect in management. The systems approach is superior to this approach because it considers the effects of these decisions to other sectors of the business (evaluates the ripple effect). As such, the system approach is effective in ensuring that decisions made do not alter the goals and objectives of the organization even in the slightest way.

The classical approach to management assumes that managers should concentrate more on the division of labor and specialization. In this approach, managers have specific responsibilities as regarding to their functions and their designated staff members. According to this approach, employees are employed on basis of the job description. That means that employees are employed depending on the applicability of their skills to a specific task. The problem with this approach is that there are external factors that may lead to changes in job description. In addition, the decision making process is often too slow. On the other hand, the system approach perceives management as part of a system. In addition, it considers external factors and how they can affect the overall organization. It considers each department as part of the system unlike the classical approach. This makes it more reliable because it factors in the interrelatedness of all departments and how they affect each other as well as the overall organization.

Compare and contrast the planning done at the top, middle, and bottom levels of an organization.

Planning refers to the process through which managers and other organizational leaders design the appropriate goals and the procedures that should be followed to realize these goals. Managers at different levels of the organization play different roles in the planning processes involving the firm. There are three main management levels.

The top level of an organization consists of the executive managers, CEOs and COO. They are tasked with the duty of making decisions and plans that affect the entire firm. They are visionaries and make long term plans, goals and objectives. They are responsible for the formulation of rules, regulations and procedures that should be followed so as to achieve the set goals. Unlike the middle and bottom level of the organization, these managers do not interfere or direct the day to day running of the business and are result oriented. Their interaction with employees is often kept at a minimal.

The middle level of the organization consists of the divisional, general and regional managers. Unlike the top level managers, they set goals and plans for their various departments and units. They are the enforcers of the plans set by the top managers. In addition to this, they act as middlemen between the top and bottom levels of the organization. They provide motivation to the lower level and provide feedback to top level management. They are more involved with the day to day activities of the business and make plans on how the set goals can be achieved within the stipulated time, environment and conditions. They are task oriented and dedicate most of their efforts into ensuring that efficiency prevails at all costs. While the top level of the organization can take a considerable amount of risks and incorporate them into their plans for the future, middle level managers avert risks and are very reluctant to change.

The bottom level of the organization consists of people such as the supervisors, departmental heads, crew leaders and foremen. They interact on a daily basis with the line employees (people directly involved with the production and distribution of goods and services. They are involved in the organization and disbursement of an organization’s resources in a way that will ensure that the set goals and objectives yield the expected if not better results. Top and middle levels of the organization concentrate on the motivation and monitoring of employee’s activities to ensure that they effectively work in unity towards the set goals and objectives. While the top management is more concerned with the development of an organization’s vision and mission, the bottom level management dwells mainly on the implementation of these plans.

In addition, top management is about driving and planning for change as well as anticipation of environmental changes while bottom management deals mainly with the adaptation process in times of change. On the same note, top level of an organization’s management take on a positive view of things while the bottom management is more concerned with the negative consequences that may arise at any point. The most obvious difference is that top level managers are viewed as persons who know their flaws and strong attributes and have the ability to accept and correct their mistakes while bottom managers avoid taking risks so that they can protect themselves and the jobs that they are tasked with.

Identify and discuss the implications of changes in the political/legal component of the general environment facing organizations over the past decade. Give one example of a relevant recent change. What is the best way for companies to manage their legal responsibilities?

Over the past few centuries, the human civilization has advanced tremendously giving rise to significant social and economic changes. This has resulted most notably in the creation of a large group of working class members of the society and their employers. It is this class that has been primarily responsible for the creation of immense wealth and therefore the growth of the nations. In the earlier years of industrialization, work conditions were appalling with low wages and discriminatory practices being rampant leading to poor work relations. However, this has changed with recent times and in most parts of the world, employers have embraced good practices that among other things are aimed at combating race and ethnic discrimination. In addition to this most countries, have endorsed the Equal Employment Opportunities (EEOs) which are policies that are intended to “eliminate workplace discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, race, religion or sex” (International Labor Office 47).

Although there have been a rapid improvement in employment relationships as a result of various legislations in the world, there are still issues which hamper these relationships therefore leading to dissatisfaction and hence lower productivity. While most forms of discrimination have over time been wiped out there has been a reemergence of some forms of discrimination in the workplace. Certain socio-economic factors can be held to blame for the greater prevalence of some of these discriminations since in current times, unemployment rates are rising in the country as a result of harsh economic realities. However, discrimination is counterproductive and a violation of human rights which nations are committed to uphold. Some of the prevalent discrimination grounds in business settings are as follows. Discrimination on the Basis of Age, unequal Pay between the Sexes, discrimination on Ethnicity Grounds and discrimination on the Basis of Lifestyles.

The role of the government in combating discrimination in the work place cannot be overstated. Most employers would be at best reluctant to enforce any policies that did not positively yield to an addition in their profits. The welfare of the workers would therefore take a back seat to profitability leading to an undermining of favorable work conditions for the workers. As such, the government has to step in and in this case, combat discrimination based on age. The government has not only enacted policies that outlaw this practice but it has also made it mandatory for employers to create environments which promote the wellbeing of aging employees. Furthermore, to promote equal employment opportunity, organizations should come together and create a specialized body which will ensure that discriminatory tendencies are checked in all organizations. This body will be charged with promoting equality of opportunity both across races and between the sexes.

There is an increasing tendency for governments to impose penalties including imprisonment for discrimination by race or gender in recruitment, training and conditions of employment. However, there is a lack of the willpower to implement these penal sanctions therefore greatly diminishing their effectiveness in deterring discrimination. While in some cases the government may be willing to take legal action against the person accused of discrimination, there is difficulty in proving discrimination simply because of lack of evidence of the action in the first place. Potential claimants sometimes refuse to take legal action since they fear reprisal in the form of dismissal from their workplace if they pursue legal action against their employers. As such, all organizations should ensure that they have an ethics program put in place to provide laws and regulations safeguarding the rights of their employees.

Works Cited

International Labour Office. Equality at Work: Tackling the Challenges: Global Report Under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. International Labor Organization, 2007. Print.

Williams, Chuck. MGTM, 2008 Edition. NY: Cengage learning, 2007. Print.

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BusinessEssay. "The Role and Appropriateness of Group Decision-Making." December 6, 2022.