Teams and Teamwork: Decision Making in Teams

Decision making – is the process of making choices among alternative courses of action.

How Teams make Decisions

  • Decision by lack of response: one idea after another is suggested without any discussion taking place.
  • Decision by authority rule: the leader, manager, committee head, or some authority figure makes a decision for the team.
  • Decision by minority rule: two or three people are able to dominate or “railroad” the team into making a mutually agreeable decision.
  • Decision by majority rule: formal voting may take place, or members may be polled to find the majority viewpoint; method parallels democratic political system.
  • Decision by consensus: what is encouraged; there is a full discussion which leads to one alternative being favored by most members and the other members agree to support it.
  • Decision by unanimity: maybe the ideal state of affairs; all team members agree on the course of action to be taken.

Assets and Liabilities of Group Decisions

Advantages of group decision making {Potential Assets}

  • Team decisions make greater amounts of information, knowledge, and expertise available to solve problems
  • Avoids considering only a limited range of options; more quality
  • Generates more understanding and commitment

Disadvantages of group decision making {Potential Liabilities}

  • Social pressures to conform
  • Greater time requirements


  • A high level of cohesiveness can sometimes be a disadvantage; strong feelings of team loyalty can make it hard for members to criticize or evaluate one another’s ideas and suggestions.
  • Psychologist Irving Janis calls this phenomenon groupthink, the tendency for highly cohesive teams to lose their critical evaluative capabilities and make poor decisions.

Creativity in Team Decision Making *Techniques for improving creativity in teams

  • Brainstorming: engages groups (usually 5-10 people) in an open, spontaneous discussion of problems and ideas.
  • Nominal group technique: structures interaction among team members discussing problems and ideas.

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