The Social Side of Decision Making

The Social Side of Decision Making In our group for this assignment we used a few techniques to arrive at a combined agreement. Group Polarization was definitely present in this group, so was dictatorship and conformity. The group worked together verbally; since a face to face was not applicable. Moscovici & Zavalloni describe group polarization as a “tendency for a group discussion to amplify the inclinations of group members. ” (Moscovici, S. & Zavalloni, M. , 1969). Group polarization creates what Moscovici & Zavalloni call the risky shift, where group members will more likely tend to agree to disagree and take more risks than if the member of the group were to be working alone independently. When people are in a group they are more likely to advocate riskier courses of action than if they were doing the project on their own. (Moscovici, S. , & Zavalloni, M. 1969).

For example, we in the group took risks to “trust” the other member to know what they were doing to help make our grade the best, and we relied on the compiler to create an outstanding paper using the information we all provided toward the assignment. We also applied dictatorship; someone who planned the project and how it would be completed, with deadlines and responsibilities of all parties. In a group dictatorship “tends to be more accurate than individual judgments, accuracy depends in part upon how group members combine their answers. Davis, 1973). Being that there were 7 working members of the group, we all had to do a portion of the assignment and then agree on a process and layout of the paper and then how our individual answers and interpretations were to be combined to make one glorious project for all of us. We used five the techniques as described in the text of Plous; consensus, dialectic, dictator, Delphi and collective. (1993). Doing so we believed that following these techniques that we would arrive at a more accurate group judgment.

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Asch found that one of the situational factors that influence conformity is the size of the opposing majority. (Age of the Sage, n. d. ). Through the different experiments that Asch had conducted with groups on conformity, he discovered that “apparently, people conform for two main reasons: because they want to be liked by the group and because they believe the group is better informed than they are. ” (Age of the Sage, n. d. ). As with any group as I said before you need to learn to agree to disagree sometimes. You are not always right and they are not always right, however, given the chance to rainstorm and toss ideas around, the group is able to come to a consensus of agreement that “this is the right answer or close”. We can’t have our pie and eat it too meaning; we cannot have it our way all the time. Sometimes we have to break out of our habit of how we do things singly and join the group as a whole. During this group with the above mentioned theories applied to avoid any biases and errors was to first accept the fact that they exist. Doing so we were able to reduce these from occurring and were able to request; not demand, the information that was needed.

I (since I was the leader) led the group as I have done many groups in my management history. I encouraged criticism of each other, even myself, I encouraged brainstorming to discuss the best possible way to plan and complete the assignment, I encouraged all members of the group to apply their opinions and suggestions because we all matter not just one and I applied deadlines for everybody to apply the rule of responsibility. I led the group and I let another member be the compiler. I believe this led the group to be open and honest with each other, also asking for criticism as well.

However, with all this said, there was one instance of social loafing where the member did not complete their portion on time; “individuals are less likely to help as the number of people in the group increases. ” (Plous, 1993). The difference between individual and group decision is making is simply produced. For an individual decision maker the individual is working alone, the presence of biases will be more present; because in groups this is diffused as the group size increases. In a group setting however this is different.

If the group does well, this it is likely that the group will claim the responsibility of the success together. If the group produces a failure this is where things change and finger pointing starts. In a group the group itself is not as willing to take the blame and whoever had the responsibility of the failed portion will get the blame instead. Then again “group accuracy depends on a variety of factors, including the nature and difficulty of the task, the competence of the group members, the way that group members are allowed to interact, and so forth. Plous, 1993). It was claimed by Hastie following his experiments that a group decision will more likely be accurate than if an individual were to make it alone. (Hastie, 19986). Also with a group decision process there are more skills and knowledge involved and because each person brings something different to the table the outcome can tend to be better than if it were made by an individual. Thus the group must all agree on the decision made together and not alone. Social influences can occur whether it is an individual or a group.

This influence can ring in all kinds of biases and errors that we try to avoid from the start. Careful knowledge of these steps by the leader can avoid liabilities that could occur, as well as being aware of groupthink and realizing that it can occur and taking steps to avoid that as well; where everyone in the groups begins to think the same. Along with this comes social comparison where people “often take their cues directly from others, and they are very concerned about the opinions others have of them. (Suls & Miller, 1997).

This tends to make the group member hold back from their normal questioning and idea tossing thus leaving the group without fresh ideas and thoughts that might be utilized. When this occurs it is mostly because the member is experiencing fears of social acceptance of the group, they then conform at the ending decision and from that we learned then group polarization begins to happen. A group should not start to act and think the same way, this will put you in a rut or a dead end thought process. When all this occurs, the group becomes torpid which is not a good practice, especially in the business world. Plous, 1993) Reference Age of the Sage, (n. d. ). Solomon Asch experiment (1958) A study of conformity. Retrieved August 21, 2008, from http://www. age-of-the-sage. org/psychology/social/asch_conformity. html Asch, S. E. , Effects of Group Pressure Upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgments. In H. Guetzkow (ed. ) Groups, Leadership, and Men, 1951. Davis, J. H. (1973). Group decision and social interaction: A theory of social decision schemes. Psychological Review, pp. 80, 97-125 Hastie, R. (1986). Review essay: Experimental evidence on group accuracy. In B. Grofman and G.

Owen (Eds. ), Information pooling and group decision making: Proceeding of the second university of California, Irvine, Conference on Political Economy. Greenwich, CT: Jai Press Moscovici, S. , & Zavalloni, M. (1969). The group as a polarizer of attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, pp. 12, 125-135 Plous, S. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. New York: McGraw Hill Inc. Suls, J. M. & Miller, R. L. (Eds. ). (1997). Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives. Washington DC: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation

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