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Strategic decision making is important in an organization. Decisions can be made by individuals or groups. Groups are characterized by membership, loyalty, control, lack of clear leadership, uniformity due to conformity, and creativity. Individual decision making is characterized by autocracy, which is essential in making quick decisions.
Question 1: Critically evaluate key arguments from both a scholarly and a practitioner-oriented point of view
Group membership and commitment motivate members in the implementation of the groups policies or activities (Leavitt 1975; Janis 1973). However, it is difficult to address non-performing group members. Also, in case of failed projects, members can evade individual responsibility by rationalizing the results (Whyte 1991). Thus commitment to escalation of situations in a project is limited. Groups decision making is based on the group techniques and attributes of human behavior like fear and anger implying, thus emotions affect decision making by individuals in a group (Leavitt 1975; Eisenhardt 1989).
Decision making in groups is characterized by creativity and innovation. Group members discuss on important issues in making strategic decisions. However, the interaction between the group members can affect the organizations performance. It is because conflict is inherent in groups due to individual differences. However, conflict resolution and integration of strategic decisions can influence speed in making fast decisions (Eisenhardt 1989).
In a group, some individuals assume leadership position and influence the group decision as they are involved in analyzing a problem and formulating evidence (Leavitt 1975; Janis 1973). Group control by the leader contributes to discipline thus the coordination efforts among group members lead to effective control of disobedient individuals (Janis 1973). However, the centralized power is important in making quick strategic decisions (Eisenhardt 1989).
Uniformity in group is indicated by defined roles, standards and traditions on operating procedures in decision making like small groups (Leavitt 1975). However, conformity to the in-group or need for affiliation is characterized by silence leading to deterioration of the decision making process (Janis 1973). Decisions usually have group product thus there is stereotyping of rival group or individualistic group members, which interfere with negotiation.
Question 2: Critique underlying assumptions evident in the articles and identifies any new insights for practice and scholarship
One of underlying assumptions is that the decisions of a group are better than those of individuals. The collective thinking is perceived as crucial in making strategic decisions due to the presence of more information on alternatives offered to solve a problem in the organization (Eisenhardt 1989). However, individual decision can be effective in making quick decisions due to the presence of few alternatives. Also, in individual decision making a person takes responsibility of the decisions made in case of escalation tendency (Whyte 1991). The presence of conflicts in groups due to individual differences can lead to disruption in making quick strategic decisions (Eisenhardt 1989).
Group work can prevent the members from discussing important issues as stereotyping of rival group can interfere with negotiation. Loyalty is a symbol of morality among members thus they avoid controversy, interrupting discussions, and questioning weak opinions (Janis 1973). As a result, there is a likelihood of weak decisions in groups.
There is an assumption of flexibility of group members to conform to the demands of the group (Janis 1973). Individuals in a group are expected to modify and adjust themselves to the demands of the group. However, control by the leader leads to conflicts and tensions among members of a group as the hierarchy in the organization in decision making is interfered due to the diffused responsibility (Eisenhardt 1989). It indicates that the perceived uniformity in groups is simply due to fear.
Finally, there is an assumption that groups promote creativity and innovation among group members. However, the group expectations undermine the value of individualism and self-censorship on individuals participation (Leavitt 1975). As a result, the shared illusion concerning consensus leads to the conformity of members with opposing ideas. It implies that groups do not value individual satisfaction and accomplishment of performance. Therefore, the individuals competitive behavior is affected due to lack of individual incentives as groups seek to control and coordinate activities of an individual (Janis 1973).
Question 3: Extend the thinking and application of your review with additional resources and experiential analyses
I am a team leader in investment division at an asset management company (financial service industry). The group deals with investment in stocks and real estate. The company has been experiencing challenges related to decision making and workplace culture, including lack of shared values. For example, the managers decisions are final leading to poor performance due to lack of motivation among workers. The lack of shared values is demonstrated by the workers attitude and behavior like pursuit of recognition and promotion at the expense of others. Therefore, each department has been urged to discuss the underlying issues in groups.
As a group leader, I am equipped with knowledge on making quick decisions from the multiple opinions as each group member will be allowed to contribute independently (Eisenhardt 1989). Additionally, conflict is inevitable in groups and there is a tendency to diffuse responsibility with escalation of effects hence conflict resolution is important in making quick strategic decisions (Leavitt 1975). Thus, I will encourage the group members to take responsibility of the outcome of group decision. However, group decisions are not always reliable as analyzing alternatives can be time consuming, hence individual decisions are preferable due to individual commitment (Whyte 1991). Personal differences, like the cultural differences displayed by the company workers, and loyalty to the group, can also interfere with decision making. Thus, I will encourage members to participate without fear of criticism. Also, I can use my position to make the best decisions for the companys growth.
In conclusion, both individuals and groups play essential role in decision making in an organization. Thus the organizations awareness of the limitations of groups and individuals in decision making is important.