Group decision-making: Factors that affect group effectiveness

Author:Juliana Osmani
Position:University 'Aleksander Moisiu', Durres, Albania
Pages:23-38
ISSN 2410-3918
Acces online at www.iipccl.org
23
IIPCCL Publishing, Tirana-Albania
Academic Journal of Business, Administration, Law and Social Sciences Vol. 2 No. 1
March 2016
Group decision-making: Factors that affect group effectiveness
Juliana Osmani
University “Aleksander Moisiu”, Durres, Albania
Abstract
Organizations are operating in a dynamic and turbulent environment. In these conditions,
they have to make decisions for new problems or situations. Most of decisions are therefore
non-programmed and unstructured, accompanied by risk and uncertainty. Moreover, the
problems and situations are complex. All organizations are oriented towards group decision-
making processes, as useful tools to cope with uncertainty and complexity. Apart from the
necessity, companies are turning towards participatory processes also to benefit from the
important advantages that these processes offer. Organizations have realized the importance
of group decision-making processes to contribute to the creation of sustainable competitive
advantages.
Main objective of this paper is to show that group decision-making processes do not offer
guarantee for good decisions, because the effectiveness of group is affected by many factors.
So, the first thing done in this paper is discussing about the benefits and limitations that
accompany the use of groups with decision-making purpose. Afterwards, we stop on the
different factors that influence the group’s ability to make good decisions. The aim is to
emphasize that regardless of the many advantages of groups, some factors as group size, type
of communication within the group, leadership style, the norms, the differentiation of roles
and statuses, cohesion and compliance degree should be the main elements to keep into
consideration because they affect the effectiveness of group. In this regard, is discussed how
such factors influence the quality of decision and then we try to draw some conclusions that
can improve and make better and easier group decision-making processes.
Keywords: group size, communication, leadership style, norms, roles and statuses, cohesion
and compliance.
Introduction
When the individual decision-making process is compared with the group decision-
making process the advantages of the latter are numerous (Luthans, 1992). The
advantages of group decision making highlighted in the literature are different. Some
authors argue that the decisions taken by the group are better than those taken by the
individual (Sniezek & Henry, 1989; Tindale & Sheffey, 2002; Surowiecki, 2004). Llaci
(2010) points out that the group is able to put together much more information than a
single person, while Noorderhaven (1995) believes that the decision-making at group
level is considered more legitimate than the decision made by one person. Kume
(2010) focuses on the benefits of group decision-making process regarding the
implementation phase. She claims that since in a group often participate members
who will also be involved during implementation, the decision is better understood
and this improves the effectiveness. In fact, the implementation phase is very
important, but often we can fail at this stage of the decision-making process, because
ISSN 2410-3918
Acces online at www.iipccl.org IIPCCL Publishing, Tirana-Albania
Academic Journal of Business, Administration, Law and Social Sciences Vol. 2 No. 1
March 2016
24
the decision is not clear and understood, or because the decision is not accepted. On
the other hand, a participatory decision-making process increases the personal
motivation (Lawrence & Seiler, 1984; Miller & Monge, 1986). Empirical studies have
shown that the group increases satisfaction (Black & Gregersen, 1997; Wright & Kim,
2004) and self-confidence (Parnell & Crandall, 1994).
We may think that group decisions are qualitatively better than those of individuals,
but it must be emphasized that also groups can make bad decisions. Here we can
mention groupthinking (Janis, 1982), polarization (Stoner, 1961; Burnstein & Vinokur,
1977), time limits (Vroom & Yetton, 1973; Nooderhaven, 1995; Kume, 2002) and the
effect of common information (Stasser & Titus, 1985; Gigone & Hastie, 1993).
However, we must admit that the benefits of group decision-making process are
numerous compared to the problems. It is necessary that the benefits of group decision-
making process do not become absolute conclusions (Noorderhaven, 1995). Everything
depends on the criteria according to which the comparison is made (Brown, 1988,
p.127). So, if it is used as a criterion of time, then it is preferable an individual decision
making. But if we seek effectiveness instead of efficiency, then groups do better. Hence,
it becomes important to define what is meant by group effectiveness.
The adoption of group decision-making process is not a guarantee for success, because
the effectiveness of the group is influenced by many factors. This is undoubtedly a
very complex subject, but in the following we are trying to discuss different factors
that can affect the quality of group decisions and then to draw conclusions that can
improve and make better and easier these processes.
The aim of the study and research question
The benefits of group decision-making are numerous compared with individual
processes. The aim of this paper is to show that group decision-making processes can
also lead to bad decisions, because the effectiveness of group is affected by many
factors. So, in relation to the aim, the research questions are formulated as follows:
1. Which are the advantages that accompany the group decision-making?
2. Are the benefits sufficient to affirm that groups lead to better decisions
compared with individuals?
3. Which are the factors that affect the effectiveness of the group and how do
they influence the quality of decisions?
Methodology
For this paper is adopted the literature on based research methodology. So, the study
starts bringing a general theoretical framework of the group decision-making process,
with its benefits and limits. It continues trying to provide a theoretical overview in
order to understand which are the factors that become important talking about quality
of decisions and how they can affect group effectiveness.
This methodology assumes importance because analyzing and discussing the
theoretical basis of group decision-making effectiveness, we can:
- find new ideas for future researches;
- define different objects of investigation;

To continue reading

Request your trial