Monday, December 8, 2008

Brainstorming, Nominal Group Technique, Delphi Technique - Group Decision Making Processes

3 Famous Processes for Group Decision Making are:

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Nominal Group Technique
  3. Delphi Technique

BRAINSTORMING:

Brainstorming is a group decision making process in which negative feedback on any suggested alternative by any group member is forbidden until all members have presented alternatives that they perceive as valuable.

Brainstorming is carefully designed to encourage all group members to contribute as many viable decision alternatives as they can think of.

Its premise is that if the evaluation of alternatives starts before all possible alternatives have been offered, valuable alternatives may be overlooked.

During brainstorming, group members are encouraged to state their ideas, no matter how wild they may seem, while an appointed group member records all ideas for discussion.

NOMINAL GROUP TECHNIQUE:

The nominal group technique is another useful process for helping groups make decisions. This process is designed to ensure that each group member has equal participation in making the group decisions.

It involves the following steps:

  1. STEP 1: Each group member writes down individual ideas on the decision or problem being discussed.
  2. STEP 2: Each member presents individual ideas orally. The ideas are usually written on a board for all other members to see and refer to.
  3. STEP 3: After all members present their ideas, the entire group discussed these ideas simultaneously. Discussion tends to be unstructured and spontaneous.
  4. STEP 4: When discussion is completed, a secret ballot is taken to allow members to support their favourite ideas without fear. The idea receiving the most votes is adopted and implemented.

DELPHI TECHNIQUE:

The Delphi technique involves circulating questionnaires on a specific problem among group members, sharing the questionnaire results with them, and then continuing to recirculate and refine individual responses until a consensus regarding  the problem is reached.

In contrast to the nominal group technique or brainstorming, the Delphi technique does not have group members meet face to face. The formal steps followed in the Delphi Technique are:

  1. STEP 1: A problem is identified.
  2. STEP 2: Group members are asked to offer solutions to the problem by  providing anonymous responses to a carefully designed questionnaires.
  3. STEP 3: Responses of all group members are compiled and sent out to all group members.
  4. STEP 4: Individual group members are asked to generate a new individual solution to the problem after they have studied the individual responses of all other group members.
  5. STEP 5: Step 3 and 4 are repeated until a consensus problem solutions is reached.


Brainstorming offers the advantage of encouraging the expression of as many useful ideas as possible, but the disadvantage of wasting the group's time on ideas that are wildly impractical.

The nominal group technique, with its secret ballot, offers a structure in which individuals can support or reject an idea without fear of recrimination. Its disadvantage is that there is no way of knowing why individuals voted the way they did.

The advantage of the Delhi Technique is that ideas can be gathered from group members who are too geogrpahically separated or busy to meet face to face.Its disadvantage is that members are unable to ask questions of one another.

Managers must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of these 3 group decision making tools and adopt the one or some combination of the three - that best suits their unique organizational circumstances.

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