Group decision making LO5389

John Woods (
Tue, 6 Feb 1996 09:37:58 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO5370 --

Martin Brooks asks:
>Could anyone point to practical steps to ensure efficient and effective
>group decision-making? Are there hard management techniques in this area?
>Are there administrative routines that help drive the pace and avoid
>issues getting bogged-down "in committee"? Is there a good, practical,
>text-book on the subject?

I would suggest checking out various books on teamwork, such as The Team
Handbook by Peter Scholtes (Joiner Associates, Madison, WI), which talks
about teamwork, and includes material on how teams can come to consensus
decisions. Another would be Tips for Teams, by Kimball Fisher et al

I also suggest that you check out the idea of dialogue, which is an
approach that allows members of a team (or committee) or any group to
explore the assumptions on which they base their conclusions. By
carefully exploring different assumptions, you learn from one another,
come to appreciate different points of view, build on each others' ideas,
and can come to agreement on courses of action that are based on shared
assumptions, well explored. Some references on this would be Peter Senge
et al, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (Doubleday Currency) and William
Isaacs, "Taking Flight: Dialogue, Collective Thinking, and Organizational
Learning" Organizational Dynamics, Autumn 1993 (available in most
university libraries or from the American Management Association). Also
in that same issue of Organizational Dynamics: Edgar H. Schein, "On
Dialogue, Culture, and Organizational Learning." Both of these are very
good articles on dialogue.

John Woods
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