The inevitable outcome of a team’s collaborative work is the need for collective decisions. These range from daily choices between alternative approaches and next steps, to far-reaching decisions about strategies and policies. While not every decision needs to be made as a team, research shows that group decisions are often more advantageous, and are generally better executed, than those of individuals. Team members who openly share their knowledge are able to create and debate a wide range of robust alternatives. When that same team owns the ultimate decision, they are also more likely to carry it out with energy and enthusiasm.
Group decision-making carries the inherent risk that involving many people will cause delays, and ultimately compromise efficiency. It is also subject to a pair of team dynamics: sharedness bias, in which group members communicate about their collective knowledge but neglect to share individual knowledge; and preference bias, in which members stick with their initial decision preference in spite of subsequent, contradictory information. The exploding volume of information available to decision makers further complicates team decision making. A well-defined process for when and how to make collective decisions, coupled with tools to streamline information sharing, help to minimize the complexities of group decision-making. (click here to read the white paper)