Group Decision-Making Techniques, Tools, Strategy.

  • Kat Ciesielska
  • January 13, 2022
  • 9 min read

The group decision-making process may seem hard. Especially for old-style managing bosses and supervisors. If the decision-making process has been a one-person task for you, don’t worry. In this guide, you will learn why decision-making is better with other group members involved. I will also show you how to implement teamwork decision-making smoothly.

We will go together through group decision-making process steps. You will find your favorite group technique. Ready to implement without much effort. In the end, you will read about extra tips that will help you with making the final decision. Soon, your team also will be one of the successful decision-making groups.

Let’s start!

What is a group decision-making technique?

Group decision-making technique is a way to approach decision-making in groups. It helps you to achieve collaborative decision-making, even in big teams, instead of arguing. All group decision-making techniques have their advantages and disadvantages, of course.

They all are meant to improve your group performance when it comes to group discussion. But they are different. That is why you need to choose the one that is the best for most individual members of your team.

You know them best, so you can pick, but you can also make some tests. When the group decides even about their group decision-making technique, that’s a success! Think about your group dynamics and propose a few techniques to select from.

Test them all together and make your first final decision as a group!

I will show you my favorite ones. But before we jump to techniques, let’s talk about why group decisions are so important.

Common Goal

What is the importance of group decision-making?

An effective group decision-making process is a must. I’m serious. Times of individual decision-making are gone. At least in most modern organizations. No one wants to work for a company where decision-makers don’t care about the team.

And the best in the industry will not. But, that’s just the beginning.

It’s better for your projects

Ambitious people have many ideas. And you want them to express ideas for your company’s sake. You want to hear even extreme opinions because it’s all a great business value.

All group members may have another perspective. As your customers. Because you are not every customer. You fully understand just your standpoint. But you serve many clients with many opinions.

That is why you need to listen to as many ideas as possible.

Effective group decision-making will be better for your project, for the customers, and for the company.

Engaging every group member

The group leader is usually very engaged, but that’s not enough. If you want to create the best company on the market, the entire team needs to focus. When every team member really tries, work gets better.

Group decision-making engages everyone. They feel valued, important. They start to build the company with you. And we always try harder for something we built.

Group Decision Making Woman Who Knows

Avoiding misunderstanding between group members

Decision-making groups understand each other better. When people share creative ideas, talk about projects and find a group consensus, everyone knows where they’re going. There’s a smaller possibility of going in the wrong direction.

When the team discusses everything before jumping into the flow of work, they know what to do. The final decision is clear to all team members.

Improving group effectiveness

When all team members feel valued, they know where they’re going and there are no misunderstandings, the result can be one. The effectiveness just grows.

Every new group decision makes the team stronger. The group discusses more openly, decision-making methods are becoming more familiar, and even complex tasks are getting done.

What are the disadvantages of group decision-making?

The disadvantages of group decision-making are simple. Group decision-making may be a bit time-consuming. But it just happens, when you don’t use the right tools and techniques.

There are also some decisions that just a boss can make. Not every single decision can be discussed. Definitely, you will know which ones. Such decisions are sometimes hard, but you will be okay.

With the rest, especially when we talk about some project, it’s worth engaging every member of the group. All human beings like to be important, they will appreciate it.

To summarize, group decision-making usually is much better than playing solo. Disadvantages are barely noticeable.

What are the types of group decision-making?

These are some types of group decision-making:

  1. The Delphi technique.
  2. Brainstorming.
  3. Decision-trees.
  4. Weighted scoring.
  5. Dialectical inquiry.
  6. Nominal group technique.

There are a few more you can find. Some came right from social psychology masters, others from Cambridge university press, or from business experts. These are my favorites.

Well-tested by dozens of people, including me.

All of these group decision-making techniques are trustworthy. Definitely, you will find the best for your group.

Group Decision Making

6 best group decision-making techniques: all you need to know

#1 The Delphi technique

The Delphi method, sometimes called “iterative convergence”, is a perfect technique when a major decision needs to be made. The consensus decision comes from all the ideas, selected tour by tour. It’s a favorite method of decision-making groups of experts.

The most efficient way to use it is to choose experts in the topic’s field. Each one of them gives an idea, the leader collects them and reads them all in loud anonymously.

Then, the group can think again, in the light of new perspectives. They give an answer again, and again, until the one, the final decision is made.

It has some similarities to a brainstorming session as everyone gives their idea, but anonymity makes a huge difference. People focus just on the facts. They don’t try to manipulate others’ decisions. It’s also more structured because ideas are getting conversed with each turn.

The Delphi technique can also be modified a bit if you want to experiment. First, choose just experts in the field to give their ideas. Read all of them loud, so every group member gets some information.

In the next round, let everyone interested select their favorite options.

#2 Brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the most known group decision-making techniques. It became popular far back before anyone started analyzing the decision-making process at all.

Open discussion, many potential solutions, and ideas, many voices. With a help of a group leader, this is really effective method. If you remember about majority rules and good organizational behavior, it’s worth using.

Always be respectful.
Let others speak.
Listen to all alternative solutions.

Don’t get disappointed when you can’t find the final decision.

Some decision-making methods are great to mix with others. That’s one of them, perfect to express all ideas and thoughts first. Every so often everyone just agrees spontaneously, sometimes majority opinion naturally wins.

It has its advantages and disadvantages, so just try it by yourself!

#3 Decision-trees

A decision-tree method is definitely perfect for those who love mind-maps. Actually, decision-trees could be even categorized as a mind-maps. Perfect when you need to think about the outcome of every possible scenario.

Everything starts from the one question you ask the group members. This is the root of our decision-tree. And later, there comes possible scenarios. Perfectly if you choose them from some quick brainstorming or nominal group technique. These are branches.

Then, during an analysis of every possible outcome of these scenarios, you draw the tree. You see all the possible solutions. Everything is clear and visual, so decision-making should be a lot easier.

This method works perfectly in finances. Just check Investopedia’s decision tree example.

Group Decision Tree

#4 Weighted scoring

This group decision-making method is also great when you need to think carefully about consequences. It weights important aspects, so it helps to make a final decision.

Start by collecting ideas from the group members. Later, determine your influencing factors. It can be effort, cost, customer satisfaction, recourses needed, time, etc. Then rate these criteria by giving them weight, number (for example, from 1 to 5).

Rate each possible choice for each weight and calculate weighted scores. The highest score, the best decision.

Important: remember to give high weights for a good outcome. For example, the low cost should be 5, as it’s good for you. High importance is 5 again, etc.

Team Decision Making

#5 Dialectical inquiry

This is a great technique to find all hidden disadvantages of the possible choice. If your team is one of the diverse groups, they might really like it. They will have a great opportunity to discuss.

You need to divide your team into two groups. The first group presents their idea, the second one tries to prove it’s wrong. And vice-versa.

This method is similar to debating that politicians execute or school debating contests. It gives numerous possibilities. It helps to notice weaknesses unseen for the other group who invented the idea.

#6 Nominal group technique

The nominal group method is actually structured brainstorming. Better for smaller groups’ decision-making as it takes some time.

First, there’s a need to find a question of the discussion, of course. Then, everyone gets 5-10 minutes to write down all the ideas and solutions. After this time, every member of the group reads loud just one idea.

Ideas are written on a whiteboard (or anywhere else when everyone sees them) and then discussed one by one. After this, every solution gets points. There are a few methods to do this. The easiest way is just voting.

It is important to carefully talk about each of the ideas and move to the next after the author of it is done with argumentation.

2 essential group decision-making tools

Whiteboard or sticky notes

More than one research suggests that hand-writing what you have in mind is good. It helps in memorizing but also in cleaning your mind. That’s one of the reasons to not throw away office whiteboard and sticky notes.

The second reason is simple: when everyone sees the same, group decision-making will be smoother.

Use a whiteboard with your favorite group decision-making technique. It really helps.

Sticky Notes

🫂 Collaboration tool

When group members see each other, a whiteboard may be enough tool for group decision-making. Especially if your team is small.

These days, we work remotely more often than ever. Not just because of the pandemic. People just want to travel, being a digital nomad is still a great idea and that’s perfectly fine. As long as your team members do their job, you should be happy that they are happy.

If you want to manage a remote team better, including group decision-making process, collaboration tool and workforce management are a must.

Check: how to implement fair remote worker monitoring

Make your collaboration better with TimeCamp for FREE!

How to make a final decision?

Even the most fun group decision-making process has one job. It needs to lead you to the final decision. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not so easy to know when is the time. What are ways to decide what’s final?

Let’s take a look.

Unanimous decision 🙌

That’s the best way to finish every group-decision making process. Thanks to group decision-making techniques, there’s a high chance to find the final decision together. Everybody agrees with it, everybody feels responsible for it.

This particular decision is everyone’s, so everyone is pleased with it. Perfect outcome. Possible to happen.

Democratic consensus 🤝

Every group member is an individual. That’s why group decision-making won’t always lead to a common agreement. In situations like this, democracy comes as our friend.

Not perfect, but works. When group members have different opinions, the majority is supposed to win. It will affect with more happiness, and most the people are used to democratic approach. They should accept it.

When society’s wisdom has failed… there’s one more option.

Leader’s decision 👸 🤴

Is it normal that group decision-making ends up with one person’s voice? Yes, of course. A leader is a leader, not without a reason.

Sometimes, group members don’t have all the information the leader does. Or you just know that what the majority think is not the best idea.

Sometimes, there’s no majority. All group members have their ideas, and nothing looks like the majority’s choice.

Sometimes, you just wanted to know everyone’s opinion, but you knew that the final word had to be yours.

It’s a bit of an autocratic approach, but many people still believe that there’s nothing better than a wise, autocratic leader who listens before deciding.

It happens to be true.

Leader's Decision showed with chess

Extra tips for group decision-making and conclusion

As you see, group decision-making is a key to success. Decision-making groups also cooperate better. There are many ways to achieve great results; choose your favorite method.

Whatever you choose, always remember about these during your group decision-making process:

  • respect everyone’s time,
  • listen to everybody carefully,
  • respect every opinion,
  • don’t let anyone dominate the discussion,
  • try to minimize the group polarization effect (here’s what is it),
  • be clear when the final decision is made.

Don’t forget about the right tools, and the group decision-making process will become easy!

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