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14.3 Problem Solving and Decision Making in Groups


Learning Objectives

Discuss the prevalent components and qualities of problems. Exsimple the five procedures of the team problem-fixing procedure. Describe the brainstorming and also discussion that have to take area before the group provides a decision. Compare and also comparison the various decision-making methods. Discuss the assorted impacts on decision making.

Although the procedures of difficulty addressing and also decision making that we will certainly comment on next might seem noticeable, we often don’t think to or choose not to usage them. Instead, we start working on a difficulty and also later realize we are shed and need to backtrack. I’m certain we’ve all reached a suggest in a job or job and had actually the “OK, now what?” minute. I’ve newly taken up some carpenattempt projects as a practical hobby, and I have actually arisen an excellent respect for the importance of advanced planning. It’s frustrating to acquire to a vital point in building or fixing somepoint only to realize that you have to unscrew a assistance board that you already screwed in, have to drive earlier to the hardware store to obtain somepoint that you didn’t think to get previously, or need to completely begin over. In this area, we will certainly discuss the group problem-fixing procedure, techniques of decision making, and also impacts on these processes.

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Group Problem Solving

The problem-resolving process involves thoughts, discussions, actions, and decisions that occur from the initially consideration of a problematic case to the goal. The difficulties that teams challenge are differed, but some widespread problems encompass budgeting funds, increasing funds, planning occasions, addressing customer or citizen complaints, developing or adapting commodities or solutions to fit demands, sustaining members, and raising awareness about worries or causes.

Problems of all sorts have actually three widespread components:Katherine Adams and also Gloria G. Galanes, Communicating in Groups: Applications and also Skills, 7th ed. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 220–21.

An unpreferable case. When problems are desirable, there isn’t a trouble. A preferred case. Even though it may just be a vague principle, tright here is a drive to much better the unpreferable instance. The vague idea may develop into a more exact goal that deserve to be accomplished, although services are not yet generated. Obstacles between undesirable and preferable instance. These are things that stand in the method in between the current case and the group’s goal of addressing it. This component of a problem requires the a lot of work-related, and it is the component wright here decision making occurs. Some examples of obstacles incorporate restricted resources, resources, personnel, time, or indevelopment. Obstacles deserve to also take the form of world who are working versus the group, including human being resistant to readjust or human being who disagree.

Discussion of these 3 facets of a problem helps the group tailor its problem-fixing process, as each difficulty will certainly differ. While these three basic aspects are present in each problem, the team need to also address particular attributes of the problem. Five widespread and essential attributes to consider are task challenge, variety of feasible services, group member interest in trouble, team member familiarity through problem, and the require for solution acceptance.Katherine Adams and Gloria G. Galanes, Communicating in Groups: Applications and Skills, 7th ed. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 222–23.

Task challenge. Difficult tasks are likewise typically even more complex. Groups must be all set to spfinish time researching and also stating a daunting and also facility job in order to develop a mutual foundational expertise. This frequently requires individual work-related external of the team and also frequent team meetings to share information. Number of possible remedies. Tright here are normally multiple ways to fix a difficulty or complete a job, but some problems have actually more potential solutions than others. Figuring out exactly how to prepare a beach home for an approaching hurricane is sensibly complex and challenging, but tbelow are still a minimal variety of points to do—for instance, taping and boarding up windows; turning off water, electrical power, and gas; trimming trees; and also securing loose exterior objects. Other difficulties might be more creatively based. For example, making a brand-new restaurant might entail making use of some standard services yet could likewise entail many type of various forms of innovation through layout and design. Group member interest in problem. When group members are interested in the problem, they will be more engaged with the problem-addressing procedure and invested in finding a quality solution. Groups through high interemainder in and expertise around the difficulty may desire more flexibility to construct and also implement remedies, while groups with low interest might choose a leader who offers structure and direction. Group familiarity with problem. Some teams enrespond to a trouble routinely, while other difficulties are more distinct or unmeant. A family members that has lived in hurricane alley for years more than likely has a much better concept of exactly how to prepare its residence for a hurricane than does a family members that simply recently relocated from the Midwest. Many kind of groups that rely on funding have to revisit a budacquire yearly, and in recent years, teams have had actually to get more creative through budgets as funding has actually been cut in almost eexceptionally sector. When team members aren’t familiar through a trouble, they will have to perform background research study on what equivalent groups have actually done and also might additionally must lug in exterior specialists. Need for solution acceptance. In this step, groups should consider how many type of world the decision will certainly impact and also exactly how much “buy-in” from others the team demands in order for their solution to be efficiently applied. Some little teams have many kind of stakeholders on whom the success of a solution depends. Other teams are answerable just to themselves. When a small group is planning on building a new park in a crowded community or implementing a brand-new plan in a big organization, it can be exceptionally tough to build remedies that will certainly be embraced by all. In such cases, teams will certainly want to poll those that will be affected by the solution and also may desire to execute a pilot implementation to watch exactly how world react. Imposing a fantastic solution that doesn’t have actually buy-in from stakeholders have the right to still cause faitempt.
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Group problem fixing have the right to be a confusing puzzle unless it is approached systematically.


Group Problem-Solving Process

Tbelow are numerous variations of equivalent problem-solving models based on US Amerihave the right to scholar John Dewey’s reflective thinking process.Ercolony G. Bormann and Nancy C. Bormann, Effective Small Group Communication, 4th ed. (Santa Rosa, CA: Burgess CA, 1988), 112–13. As you check out via the procedures in the process, think about how you deserve to use what we learned concerning the basic and also particular elements of troubles. Some of the complying with actions are straightforward, and they are things we would certainly logically do as soon as faced with a problem. However, taking a deliberate and also methodical approach to problem resolving has been shown to advantage group functioning and performance. A deliberate strategy is especially valuable for groups that perform not have actually an establiburned history of functioning together and will certainly just be able to satisfy periodically. Although a team have to deal with each step of the process, team leaders or other team members that facilitate problem fixing must be careful not to dogmatically follow each element of the procedure or pressure a group along. Such a lack of versatility might limit team member input and negatively affect the group’s cohesion and also climate.


Step 1: Define the Problem

Define the trouble by considering the 3 facets common by eincredibly problem: the existing undesirable instance, the goal or even more preferable situation, and also obstacles in the means.Katherine Adams and Gloria G. Galanes, Communicating in Groups: Applications and Skills, 7th ed. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 229. At this stage, group members share what they understand about the current case, without proposing services or evaluating the information. Here are some good inquiries to ask during this stage: What is the current difficulty? How did we concerned understand that the obstacle exists? Who/what is involved? Why is it meaningful/urgent/important? What have the impacts been so far? What, if any, elements of the challenge call for clarification? At the finish of this stage, the group have to have the ability to compose a single sentence that summarizes the trouble called a trouble statementA single sentence that summarizes the problem facing the team.. Avoid wording in the problem statement or question that hints at potential remedies. A small team formed to investigate ethical violations of city officials could use the adhering to trouble statement: “Our state does not currently have a system for citizens to report suspected moral violations by city officials.”


Step 2: Analyze the Problem

During this action a team need to analyze the trouble and also the group’s connection to the trouble. Whereas the initially action affiliated experimenting the “what” related to the trouble, this step concentrates on the “why.” At this stage, group members deserve to comment on the potential causes of the challenge. Group members might additionally desire to start establishing out an agenda or timeline for the group’s problem-resolving procedure, looking forward to the various other procedures. To completely analyze the problem, the group deserve to discuss the five common trouble variables discussed prior to. Here are two examples of inquiries that the group created to resolve values violations might ask: Why doesn’t our city have an principles reporting mechanism? Do cities of equivalent size have such a mechanism? Once the trouble has actually been analyzed, the team can pose a problem questionA question that will certainly overview the team as it generates feasible solutions. that will overview the team as it geneprices feasible services. “How have the right to citizens report suspected ethical violations of city officials and also exactly how will such reports be processed and also addressed?” As you deserve to check out, the difficulty question is even more complex than the trouble statement, because the group has actually relocated on to even more in-depth discussion of the problem during step 2.


Tip 3: Generate Possible Solutions

During this action, group members geneprice feasible remedies to the problem. Aget, services must not be evaluated at this point, just proposed and also clarified. The question have to be what could we do to resolve this problem, not what should we perform to resolve it. It is perfectly OK for a group member to question one more person’s idea by asking something like “What execute you mean?” or “Could you describe your thinking more?” Discussions at this phase might expose a need to return to previous measures to better specify or even more fully analyze a difficulty. Due to the fact that many kind of troubles are multifaceted, it is essential for group members to geneprice options for each component of the difficulty separately, making certain to have actually multiple services for each part. Stopping the solution-generating process prematudepend have the right to cause groupthink. For the problem question formerly posed, the group would certainly must generate services for all 3 components of the trouble contained in the question. Possible options for the first part of the difficulty (How can citizens report honest violations?) may encompass “online reporting device, e-mail, in-person, anonymously, on-the-record,” and also so on. Possible services for the second part of the trouble (How will certainly reports be processed?) might incorporate “day-to-day by a newly appointed values officer, weekly by a nonpartisan nonfederal government employee,” and so on. Possible options for the third part of the difficulty (How will certainly reports be addressed?) may include “by a newly appointed values commission, by the accused’s supervisor, by the city manager,” and so on.


Step 4: Evaluate Solutions

Throughout this step, options deserve to be critically evaluated based upon their credibility, completeness, and worth. Once the potential remedies have been narrowed based on more evident differences in relevance and/or merit, the group need to analyze each solution based on its potential effects—particularly negative results. Groups that are compelled to report the rationale for their decision or whose decisions might be topic to public scrutiny would be wise to make a set list of criteria for evaluating each solution. Additionally, options can be evaluated based upon how well they fit with the group’s charge and the abilities of the group. To perform this, group members may ask, “Does this solution live approximately the original objective or mission of the group?” and “Can the solution actually be enforced via our existing sources and connections?” and “How will certainly this solution be supported, funded, implemented, and assessed?” Secondary tensions and substantive dispute, two concepts discussed earlier, emerge in the time of this action of trouble resolving, and team members will have to employ effective instrumental reasoning and listening skills.

Decision making is component of the bigger procedure of difficulty solving and it plays a significant function in this action. While tright here are numerous sensibly comparable models for difficulty addressing, tbelow are many type of differed decision-making techniques that teams have the right to usage. For example, to narrowhead the list of proposed remedies, group members might decide by majority vote, by weighing the pros and also cons, or by discussing them until a agreement is got to. Tbelow are likewise even more complicated decision-making models favor the “six hats approach,” which we will certainly talk about later. Once the last decision is got to, the team leader or facilitator need to confirm that the team is in agreement. It may be helpful to let the group break for a while or also to delay the final decision until a later meeting to allow world time to evaluate it external of the group conmessage.


Tip 5: Implement and also Assess the Solution

Implementing the solution requires some progressed planning, and also it should not be ruburned unmuch less the team is operating under strict time restraints or delay may cause some type of injury. Although some remedies have the right to be implemented instantly, others may take days, months, or years. As was noted earlier, it might be advantageous for groups to poll those that will certainly be influenced by the solution as to their opinion of it or even to perform a pilot test to observe the effectiveness of the solution and just how people react to it. Before implementation, groups need to likewise recognize exactly how and also once they would certainly assess the performance of the solution by asking, “How will certainly we know if the solution is functioning or not?” Since solution assessment will certainly differ based on whether or not the group is disbanded, groups must likewise take into consideration the following questions: If the team disbands after implementation, who will be responsible for assessing the solution? If the solution fails, will the very same team reconvene or will certainly a brand-new group be formed?


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Once a solution has been reached and also the group has the “green light” to implement it, it must proceed deliberately and cautiously, making sure to take into consideration feasible after-effects and also resolve them as needed.


Certain aspects of the solution might have to be delegated out to various civilization inside and also external the team. Group members might additionally be assigned to implement a specific part of the solution based on their function in the decision making or bereason it connects to their area of expertise. Likewise, group members might be tasked via publicizing the solution or “selling” it to a details team of stakeholders. Last, the team have to think about its future. In some instances, the group will get to decide if it will continue to be together and continue functioning on other work or if it will disband. In other instances, exterior pressures recognize the group’s fate.


“Getting Competent”

Problem Solving and also Group Presentations

Giving a team presentation calls for that individual group members and the team as a whole resolve many troubles and make many decisions. Although having actually more people involved in a presentation boosts logistical obstacles and has the potential to produce more problem, a well-prepared and also well-yielded team presentation can be more engaging and also effective than a typical presentation. The major problems encountering a group giving a presentation are (1) splitting responsibilities, (2) coordinating schedules and also time monitoring, and also (3) working out the logistics of the presentation delivery.

In regards to dividing duties, assigning individual work-related at the first meeting and also then trying to fit it all together before the presentation (which is what many type of college students perform once faced via a team project) is not the recommfinished technique. Integrating content and visual aids produced by numerous different world right into a seamless final product takes time and initiative, and also the perboy “stuck” with this job at the finish normally ends up occurring some resentment toward his or her group members. While it’s OK for team members to carry out job-related individually exterior of group meetings, spend time functioning together to help set up some criteria for content and also formatting expectations that will help make later integration of work-related less complicated. Taking the time to complete one part of the presentation together can assist collection those standards for later individual work. Discuss the duties that various team members will certainly play openly so tright here isn’t duty confusion. There could be one suggest person for keeping track of the group’s progress and also schedule, one point perkid for communication, one suggest person for content integration, one point perkid for visual aids, and also so on. Each perkid shouldn’t carry out all that work on his or her own however help focus the group’s attention on his or her specific location in the time of group meetings.Chaunce Stanton, “How to Deliver Group Presentations: The Unified Team Approach,” Six Minutes Speaking and also Presentation Skills, November 3, 2009, accessed August 28, 2012, http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/group-presentations-unified-team-strategy.

Scheduling team meetings is just one of the the majority of complex difficulties teams confront, offered people’s busy resides. From the start, it should be clearly connected that the group requirements to spfinish considerable time in face-to-face meetings, and group members need to recognize that they may have to make an occasional sacrifice to attend. Especially essential is the commitment to scheduling time to rehearse the presentation. Consider creating a contract of group guidelines that consists of expectations for meeting attendance to boost team members’ commitment.

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Group presentations need members to navigate many kind of logistics of their presentation. While it might be easier for a group to assign each member to develop a five-minute segment and also then transition from one perkid to the next, this is certainly not the most engaging approach. Creating a master presentation and also then assigning individual speakers creates a much more liquid and dynamic presentation and also enables everyone to become acquainted via the content, which can help if a perchild doesn’t display up to existing and throughout the question-and-answer section. Once the content of the presentation is complete, figure out introductions, transitions, visual aids, and also the use of time and also space.Chaunce Stanton, “How to Deliver Group Presentations: The Unified Team Approach,” Six Minutes Speaking and also Presentation Skills, November 3, 2009, accessed August 28, 2012, http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/group-presentations-unified-team-approach. In regards to introductions, number out if one perkid will introduce all the speakers at the beginning, if speakers will introduce themselves at the start, or if introductions will certainly occur as the presentation progresses. In terms of transitions, make certain each perchild has included in his or her speaking notes as soon as presentation duties switch from one perkid to the following. Visual aids have actually the potential to cause hiccups in a group presentation if they aren’t fluidly integrated. Practicing through visual aids and having actually one perboy manage them might help proccasion this. Know exactly how long your presentation is and also understand how you’re going to usage the space. Presenters need to recognize how long the totality presentation must be and exactly how lengthy each of their segments should be so that everyone can share the responsibility of maintaining time. Also consider the dimension and layout of the presentation area. You don’t want presenters huddled in a edge till it’s their revolve to stop or trapped behind furniture as soon as their revolve comes about.

Of the 3 major problems facing team presenters, which execute you think is the many challenging and why? Why perform you think civilization tasked with a team presentation (particularly students) like to divide the components up and have actually members work on them individually prior to coming back together and also integrating each part? What problems emerge from this method? In what ways can arising a master presentation and also then assigning components to different speakers be much better than the more split method? What are the drawbacks to the understand presentation method?