In Mixed-Company Chapter Eight by 20Izr28


									  In Mixed Company
     Chapter Eight
Effective Decision Making and
        Problem Solving

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        Decision Making and Problem
     Multiple Sequence Model:
     Phases of Decision Making
• The multiple sequence model pictures
  groups moving along three activity tracks:
  task, relational, and topic.

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                Decision Making and Problem
     Multiple Sequence Model:
     Phases of Decision Making
• Groups on the unitary sequence path
  proceed in the same step-by-step fashion
  toward a decision.
• The second path is called the complex
  cyclic, these groups engage in repeated
  cycles of focusing on the problem, then
  the solution and back again to the
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     Multiple Sequence Model:
     Phases of Decision Making
• Solution oriented, here the group launches
  into discussion of solutions with little focus
  on an analysis of the problem.

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          Functional Perspective:
            Being Systematic
• Discussion that follow some systematic procedure tend
  to be more productive and result in better decisions than
  relatively unstructured discussions.
• The drawbacks to unstructured group discussion include:
  aimless deliberations that are time-consuming and
  inefficient; premature focus on solutions.
• These five functions are problem analysis, establishment
  of evaluation criteria, generation of alternative solutions,
  evaluation of positive consequences of solutions, and
  evaluation of negative consequences of solutions.

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                      Decision Making and Problem
        Problem Identification:
         What’s the Question
• The problem should be formulated into an
  open-ended question identifying what type
  of problem the group must consider.
• Once the problem is phrased as a
  questions of fact, value, or policy, and
  ambiguous terms should be defined.

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           Problem Analysis:
           Causes and Effects
• The group researches and gathers information
  on the problem defined, tries to determine how
  serious the problem is what harm or effect
  problem produces, and what causes the
• Although analyzing the problem is important and
  should be undertaken before exploring potential
  solutions, analysis paralysis, or bogging down
  by analyzing the problem too much, can also
  thwart effect decision making.
• It prevents a group from ever getting on with
  business and making a decision.
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Solution Criteria: Setting Standards
• Criteria are standards by which decisions and
  solutions to problems can be evaluated.
• The group should establish criteria for evaluating
  solutions before solutions are suggested.
• Not all criteria, however, however, are created
  equal. The group must consider the relevance
  and appropriateness of each criterion.
• The criteria should be ranked in order of priority.

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                   Decision Making and Problem
        Solution Suggestions:
       Generating Alternatives
• The group brainstorms possible solutions
  without evaluating any suggestions until
  the best alternatives are likely to have
• Once a list of ideas has been generated,
  the group should clarify any ambiguous or
  confusing ideas. Ideas that overlap should
  be consolidated into a single idea.

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                Decision Making and Problem
Solution Evaluation and Selection:
       Deciding by Criteria
• Explore both the merits and demerits of
  suggested solutions.
• Consider each solution in terms of the
  criteria established earlier.
• There are three decision-making methods
  that are used to make solution choices:
  majority rule, minority rule, or consensous.

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                 Decision Making and Problem
        Solution Implementation:
• A common failing of decision making groups is
  that once they arrive at a decision there is not
• Force field analysis is none method for planning
  implementation of a group solution or decision.
• Using force field analysis groups brainstorm a
  list of driving forces, those that encourage
  change, and restraining forces those that resist

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                   Decision Making and Problem
  Five ways to reduce resistance to change and
 consequent restraining forces impeding solution
1. People are more likely to accept change when they
   have a had a part in the planning and decision making.
2. Changes are more likely to be accepted if they do not
   threaten group members.
3. Changes are more likely to be accepted when the need
   for change affects individuals directly.
4. There will less resistance to change when the changes
   is open to revision and modification.
5. The three factors (degree, rate, and desirability)
   affecting a group’s ability to adapt to change in a
   system should be considered.

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                      Decision Making and Problem
      Program Evaluation Review
          Technique (PERT)
1. Determine what the final step should look like.
2. Specify any events that must occur before the final goal
   is realized.
3. If necessary, construct a diagram of the process to trace
   the progress of implementation.
4. Generate a list of activities, resources, and materials
   that are required between events.
5. Develop a timeline for implementation.
6. Match the total time estimate for implementation of the
   solution with any deadlines.
7. Specify which group members will have which
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                     Decision Making and Problem
                Majority Rule
• Deliberations are significantly shorter and less
• Minority factions participate less frequently and
  are less influential, underutilized in the group’s
• When issues are not very important, when
  decisions must be made relatively quickly, and
  when commitment of all members to the final
  decision is unimportant, majority rule can be

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  Minority Rules-Several Types
• The group designates one of its members as an
  expert to make decisions. Designation by expert
  is mostly ineffective.
• Designated authority makes the decision for the
  group, either after heating discussion from group
  members or without their consultation.
• Minority rule can take the form of a forceful
  faction making a decision for the group by
  dominating less forceful members.

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   Unanimity Rule: Consensus
• The unanimity rule governs some groups,
  juries are an example.
• Consensus is a state of mutual agreement
  among members of a group where all
  legitimate concerns of individuals have
  been addressed to the satisfaction of the

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                Decision Making and Problem
            True Consensus
• True consensus requires agreement,
  commitment, and satisfaction. All members msut
  to agree with the groups final decision, but
  consensus does not require adoption of every
  member’s personal preference.
• If all members can agree on an acceptable
  alternative, even if this alternative is not each
  members first choice, then you have come
  close to achieving a true consensus.

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              True Consensus
• Groups that use a consensus approach tend to produce
  better decisions than groups using other decision rules
  because full discussion of issues is required, every
  group member must be convinced that the decision is a
  good one, and minority members are heard.
• Achieving unanimous agreement from group members is
  very difficult, especially when the issues are emotionally
  charged and time for decision making is limited.
• Consensus is increasingly unlikely as group’s grow

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                     Decision Making and Problem
 Guidelines to Achieve Consensus
1. Follow the standard agenda.
2. Establish a cooperative climate.
3. Identify the pluses and minuses of potential decisions
   under consideration.
4. Discuss all concerns of group members and attempt to
   resolve every one.
5. Avoid adversarial, win-lose arguments
6. Request a “stand aside”- when an individual does not
   block the group choice.
7. Avoid conflict-suppressing techniques such as coin-
8. If consensus is impossible despite these guidelines
   seek a supermajority (minimum of 2/3 agreement)
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                     Decision Making and Problem
     Increasing Constructive Participation:
        Jump starting low-participators
1. When low-participators offer contributions, indicate that
   their participation is valued by actively listening to what
   that person as to say, and thank them for their
2. Make issues and problems for discussion relevant to
   the interests of low-participators.
3. Give low-participators responsibility with certain tasks.
4. Establish a cooperative group climate.
5. Encourage devil’s advocacy and dialectal inquiry.

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                      Decision Making and Problem
     Complaints Associated with
         Group Meetings
1. Unclear purpose of the meeting.
2. Participants are unprepared.
3. Key individuals are absent or late.
4. Discussion drifts into irrelevant
   conversation on unrelated topics.
5. Some participants dominate the
   conversation and stifle discussion.
6. Decisions made at meetings are not
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               Decision Making and Problem
                The Chair:
          Controlling the Meeting
1. Don’t call a meeting unless there is not good alternative
2. Contact every participant
3. Prepare a clear agenda and distribute to all members 3
   days in advance
4. Move the agenda forward
5. Designate specific time allotment for every discussion
6. Reserve a few minutes at the end of the meeting to see
   if objectives were met.
7. Distribute the minutes of the meeting as soon as

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                     Decision Making and Problem
       Evaluating Information:
          Applying Criteria
• Is the information reliable?
• Is the information as up to day as
• Does the information support the claims
• A single example or stat may or may not
  accurately reflect what’s true in this
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            Guidelines for
         Determining Statistics
• The sample size (in polls, surveys, and
• Samples must be randomly selected, not
• Sufficiency (when enough is really
  – What type of claim are you making?
  – Extraordinary claims require extraordinary

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     Creative Problem Solving
1. Creativity is more perspiration than
2. Creativity is spurred by challenges
3. Creativity flourishes in cooperative, not
   competitive environment.
4. Creativity requires sound ideas
5. Creativity requires many ideas
6. Creativity requires breaking mindsets
   and thinking outside the box.
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Competent communicators explore possible
    solutions to conflicts of interests
• Conflicting parties should formulate a clear
  statement of issues and goals.
• Parties in conflict must determine whether a real
  conflict of interests exists
• The parties in disagreement should stick to their
  goals but remain flexible regarding the means of
  attaining them.
• If stalemated concede on low-priority issues or
  discard low-priority interests.
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