Group decision-making commonly known as collaborative decision-making is a situation faced when individuals collectively make a choice from the alternatives before them.
The decision is then no longer attributable to any individual group member as all the individuals and social group processes like social influence contribute to the decision outcome.
The decisions made by groups are mostly different from those made by individuals. For example − groups tend to make decisions that are more extreme than those made by individual members, as individual’s tend to be biased.
Group decision-making has two advantages over individual decision-making.
It is the idea that the whole is greater than the aggregate of its parts. When a group makes a decision collectively, its judgment can be powerful than that of any of its members. Through discussing, questioning, and collaborative approach, group members can identify more complete and robust solutions and recommendations.
Group decisions take into account a wider scope of information as each group member may contribute distinct information and expertise. Sharing information increases understanding, clarifies issues, and facilitates movement towards a collective decision.
The major disadvantages of group decision-making are as follows −
Group decision making results in distribution of responsibility that results in lack of accountability for outcomes. In this way, everyone is responsible for a decision, and no one really is.
Moreover, group decisions can make it easier for members to refuse personal responsibilities and blame others for bad decisions.
Group decisions can sometimes be less efficient than individual decisions. It takes additional time because there is a need of active participation, discussion, and coordination among group members.
Without good facilitation and structure, meetings can get eliminated in trivial details that may matter a lot to one person but not to the others.
One of the biggest disadvantage of effective group decision making is groupthink. It is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the wish for harmony or conformity results in an illogical or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
By refraining themselves from outside influences and actively suppressing opposing viewpoints in the interest of minimizing conflict, group members reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of substitute viewpoints.
Groupthink sometimes produces dehumanizing actions against the out-group.