This paper provides critical and summarized information about group decision making. The main focus of the paper is the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making in schools. However, the major points highlighted in this paper are: the group decision making methods, advantages and disadvantages of group decision making, and things to consider when applying group decision making. The paper is organized in three main parts; the introduction, main body and conclusion. The main body specifically contains the methods of group decision making, the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making and the things to consider when applying group decision making. The conclusion warns about the necessity of being aware when the educational managers opt to use whether group decision-making or individual decision making.
Group Decision Making Methods
There are many methods or procedures that can be used by groups. Each is designed to improve the decision making process in some way. Some of the more common group decision-making methods are brainstorming, dialetical inquiry, nominal group technique, and the delphi technique (Barnett, 2010). The Brainstorming method involves group members verbally suggesting ideas or alternative courses of action. The group leader or facilitator then solicits ideas from all members of the group. Once the ideas of the group members have been exhausted, the group members then begin the process of evaluating the utility of the different suggestions presented. The Dialetical inquiry method focuses on ensuring full consideration of alternatives. It involves dividing the group into opposing sides, which debate the advantages and disadvantages of proposed solutions or decisions before reaching into final decision. The Nominal group technique requires members to compose a comprehensive list of their ideas or proposed alternatives in writing. Then each group member is asked to provide one item from their list until all ideas or alternatives have been publicly recorded on a flip chart before the group engages in a discussion of the listed alternatives, which ends in some form of ranking in order of preference. The Delphi technique can be used by decision making groups when the individual members are in different physical locations. Members are usually selected because of the specific knowledge of the problem they possess. Members are asked to independently provide ideas/input/alternative solutions to the decision problem in successive stages before the group arrives at a consensus on the best decision (ibid).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
The effectiveness of group decision-making can be affected by a variety of factors. Thus, it is not possible to suggest that "group decision making is always better" or "group decision making is always worse" than individual decision-making. Despite the fact that there are many situational factors that affect the functioning of groups, scholars offer some general guidance about the relative strengths and weaknesses of group decision making. The following section summarizes the major pros and cons of decision making in groups.
Group decision-making, ideally, takes advantage of the diverse knowledge, strengths and expertise of its members/teachers. By tapping the unique qualities of group members, it is possible that the group can generate a greater number of alternatives that are of higher quality than the individual. If a greater number of higher quality alternatives are generated, then it is likely that the group will eventually reach a superior problem solution than the individual (Barnett, 2010, Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007, Schermerhorn, 2002, Robbins, 2007 & Gupta, 2008).
Group decision-making may also lead to a greater collective understanding of the eventual course of action chosen, since it is possible that many teachers affected by the decision implementation actually had input into the decision. This may promote a sense of "ownership" of the decision, which is likely to contribute to a greater acceptance of the course of action selected and greater commitment on the part of the affected individuals to make the course of action successful (Barnett, 2010, Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007, Schermerhorn, 2002 & Gupta, 2008). And therefore, group decision making may even have a motivational effect on the team if the team is a successful one.