Problem solving is the communication that analyzes the problem in detail

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Problem solving is the communication that analyzes the problem in detail
Chapter 7
Solving Problems and Making
Decisions

Problem solving is the communication
that analyzes the problem in detail
before decision making

Decision making is the communication
that results in a choice
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Oxford University Press
1
Decision-Making Skills

Task skills
• Problem recognition and framing, inference
drawing, idea generation, argument

Relational skills
• Leadership, climate building, conflict
management

Procedural skills
• Planning, process enactment
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Decision-Making Principles
1.
2.
3.
4.
Evolutionary process
Circular rather than linear
Individual-level and group-level
influences affect decision making
Decisions are made within system of
internal and external constraints
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Why Groups are
More Effective Decision Makers



Unlikely any individual will have all the
knowledge or resources to make an
effective decision
Groups provide a greater diversity of
perspectives
Group provides the opportunity to test
ideas before one is selected and
implemented
more 
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Why Groups are
More Effective Decision Makers



Quality of group communication affects
members ability procedure quality
solutions
The social context motivates members to
find best possible solution
To take advantage of a group’s
strengths, structure or decision making
procedures are needed
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5
Functional Theory
of Decision Making
Group decision procedures should help a group
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Thoroughly discuss the problem
Examine the criteria of an acceptable
solution before discussing potential solutions
Propose a set of alternative solutions
Assess the positive aspects of each
proposed solution
Assess the negative aspects of each
proposed solution
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Why Use
Decision-Making Procedures?


Help to accomplish the five functions
Overcome problems that routinely arise
during decision making
• Unequal participation
• Trouble staying focused
• Pressure to conform
• Inefficient use of time
• Difficulty of balancing task and relational
dimensions
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Ways in Which Decision
Making Procedures Vary

How group members contribute

How much group members participate

Whether participation is voluntary or
forced

Degree of formality
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Decision Making Procedures
1.
Standard agenda
2.
Brainstorming
3.
Nominal Group
Technique
4.
Consensus
5.
Voting
6.
Ranking
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Standard Agenda
Linear process of six steps
1. Identifying the problem
2.
Analyzing the problem
3.
Identifying minimal criteria for solution
4.
Generating solutions
5.
Evaluating solutions and selecting best one
6.
Implementing the solution
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Brainstorming
Helps group generate ideas to improve
productivity and creativity
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
State as many alternatives as possible
Encourage creative ideas
Examines ideas for improvement or
combination
Accept all ideas without criticism
Evaluate ideas after idea generation is
complete
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Nominal Group Technique

Independent idea generation phase
1.
2.

Members silently write ideas
Facilitator records ideas
Interactive phase to discuss ideas
3.
4.
5.
6.
Group discusses each for clarification
Vote to narrow number of ideas
Discuss ideas that received most votes
Repeat steps 4 & 5 until one idea remains
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Consensus
Discussion to achieve agreement to support
the group’s decision
1. One member facilitates the discussion
2. Facilitator uses discussion ideas to
formulate proposals
3. Recorder writes down each proposal
4. Throughout discussion, recorder reads
proposals
5. Recorder reads aloud final decision for
approval or modification
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Voting
Group casts votes in support of or against
a specific proposal
1.
2.
3.
4.
Group members discuss to produce clear
proposals
Decide how vote will be taken
Decide how many votes needed to decide
an issue
Restate proposal before voting
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Ranking
Reveal member preferences by assigning
numerical value to each alternative
1.
2.
3.
4.
Discuss ideas to produce clear proposals
Each member assigns numerical value to
each alternative
Sum individual ranks; total for the group
Read final decision aloud for approval or
modification
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Choosing a Procedure

Select procedure or combination of
procedures that:
• Meets group’s communication needs
• Satisfies five functions of group decision
making


Analyze type of task
All member must agree to using a
procedure for benefits to be achieved
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Paradox of Using Procedures


Procedures take time
Members may resist using procedures if
they are unaccustomed to using them
• Practice can help
• Tailor procedures to group’s needs
• Consider an external facilitator to guide your
group the use of a new procedure
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