Decision-Making Methods for Groups

  • Brainstorming Sessions
  • The Delphi Method
  • Bain’s Rapid Framework
  • Multi-Voting Decision-Making
  • The Nominal Group Technique

With more and more businesses today requiring employees to work in teams or in groups, effective group decision-making techniques have become highly important. Group participation often leads to unique ideas that may not have been discovered otherwise. Deciding on a technique that will be appropriate for the issue at hand can be a bit difficult, but the following five methods are worth considering.

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1. Brainstorming Sessions

Conducting a brainstorming session is a great decision-making technique that does not place any undue stress on group participants. In brainstorming, any and all ideas are encouraged, even those that may seem outlandish. During a brainstorming session, the leader of the group will present a particular problem, after which group members state their opinions freely. After all ideas have been presented, the group will then discuss each idea and choose the one that suits their purpose best.

2. The Delphi Method

Another great group decision-making technique is known as the Delphi Method. This method is perfect for groups that cannot meet at a certain time in a particular place. Using this technique, questionnaires are sent to each member of the group. Additional questionnaires may be sent if necessary depending on the results of the first. Since this is an anonymous type of decision-making, members typically feel more comfortable offering their honest and complete opinions of the issue at hand. A foreman or committee of the group collects responses and chooses the best solution offered.

3. Bain’s RAPID Framework

According to an article published by Forbes, Bain’s RAPID Framework was designed by a successful business known as Bain and Company as a useful group decision-making tool. This method works best when used to solve complicated problems that do not need to be solved right away. Each letter in the word RAPID defines a role that a member or committee of a group will hold during the decision-making process. These roles are as follows:

  • R – Recommend
  • A – Agree
  • P – Perform
  • I – Input
  • D – Decide

4. Multi-Voting Decision-Making

When using a multi-voting decision-making method, the group will first need to come up with a list of options to solve a problem. It is okay if the list is a bit lengthy, but it is best to keep it as short as possible. After a list has been established, each member is allowed to vote multiple times depending on the number of items in the list. The one-third rule is popular, and how this works is by simply dividing the total number of options by three. For example, for a list of 21 items, each member would be allowed seven votes. Additional votes may be necessary as the list is narrowed down.

5. The Nominal Group Technique

The nominal group decision-making technique provides members with the opportunity to remain anonymous while stating their opinions. The first ten to fifteen minutes of a nominal group meeting is spent allowing members to write their opinions down on a sheet of paper. The opinions are then collected and discussed individually. After discussing an idea, each member of the group ranks them on a preset scale such as one to five with five being highest. After all ideas are ranked, totals for each idea are calculated. The idea with the highest total is chosen as the best solution.

When decisions will likely affect a large percentage of persons in an organization, the best way to come up with a solution is through the use of group decision-making. There are many popular group decision-making techniques available today, and those described above work well with both small and large companies.