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Chapter 10. Decision Making by Individuals and Groups. Michael A. Hitt C. Chet Miller Adrienne Colella. Knowledge Objectives. Describe the basic steps in decision making. Discuss the four decision-making styles, emphasizing the effectiveness of each one.

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decision making by individuals and groups

Chapter 10

Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

Michael A. Hitt

C. Chet Miller

Adrienne Colella

knowledge objectives
Knowledge Objectives
  • Describe the basic steps in decision making.
  • Discuss the four decision-making styles, emphasizing the effectiveness of each one.
  • Explain the role of risk-taking propensity and reference points.
  • Define cognitive bias and explain the effects of common types of cognitive bias on decision making.
knowledge objectives1
Knowledge Objectives
  • Discuss common pitfalls of group decision making.
  • Describe key group decision-making techniques.
  • Explain the factors managers should consider in determining the level of associate involvement in managerial decisions.
decision making process

Decisions: Choices of actions from among multiple feasible alternatives

Gather and Evaluate Data

Define the Problem

Identify Criteria

Decision-Making Process
  • Define the problem
    • Gaps between where we are today and where we would like to be tomorrow
  • Identify the criteria
    • What information is needed in order to evaluate alternatives?
  • Gather and evaluate data
    • Collect information relevant to the criteria and potential alternatives

Adapted from Exhibit 10-1: The Decision-Making Process

decision making process1

Decisions: Choices of actions from among multiple feasible alternatives

List and Evaluate Alternatives

Gather and Evaluate Data

Implement and Follow Up

Select Best Alternative

Define the Problem

Identify Criteria

Decision-Making Process
  • List and evaluate alternatives
    • Develop an complete list of possible solutions to the problem (few constraints)
    • Assess each alternative using each criterion from step 2
  • Select best alternative
    • Choose the one which satisfies the criteria the best
  • Implement and follow up
    • Monitor the results

Adapted from Exhibit 10-1: The Decision-Making Process

optimal versus satisfactory decisions
Optimal versus Satisfactory Decisions
  • Optimal decision
    • The maximizing decision, yielding the absolute best result
  • Satisficing decision
    • Satisfactory rather than optimal decision
      • Lack capability to collect and process all of the information relevant for a particular decision
      • Will never know if all possible alternatives have been identified
      • Lack of time and other necessary resources for completing all of the decision activities
      • Thus, a tendency to choose the first satisfactory alternative discovered
decision making styles
Decision-Making Styles
  • Individual’s predispositions can affect decision process at two critical stages
    • Gathering (Perceiving) of information
      • Sensing style
      • Intuition style
    • Evaluating (Judging) of alternatives
      • Thinking style
      • Feeling style
decision making styles1

Define the Problem



Identify Criteria

Using the five senses to identify factual details

Using abstractions and describing the “big picture”

Gather and

Evaluate Data

Develop and Evaluate List of Alternatives



Perceptual Influences

Perceptual Influences

Using objective analysis and rational procedures

Using subjective values with emotional and personal factors

Choose Best Alternative

Implement and Follow Up

Decision-Making Styles


Adapted from Exhibit 10-2: Influence of Decision Styles

degree of acceptable risk
Degree of Acceptable Risk
  • Risk exists when the outcome of a chosen course of action is not certain
  • Risk-taking propensity (Willingness to take chances)
    • Low risk takers
      • May collect and evaluate more information
      • May become paralyzed by trying to obtain and consider too much information
    • High risk takers
      • May may decisions based on too little information
      • May jump to decisions too quickly
degree of acceptable risk1
Degree of Acceptable Risk
  • Reference point
    • Possible level of performance used to evaluate one’s current standing, and may be
      • a goal
      • a minimum acceptable level of performance
      • the average performance level of others
    • If one’s current standing is below his reference point he may take more risk to move above it
    • If one’s current standing is above his reference point he may take less risk to avoid moving below it
cognitive biases
Cognitive Biases

Ease of recall bias

Relying too much on information that is easy to recall from memory

Confirmation bias

Seeking information that confirms early beliefs and ideas

Cognitive Biases

Sunk-cost bias

Not treating past investments (time, effort, money) as sunk-costs when deciding to continue an investment

Anchoring bias

Emphasizing too much, the first piece of information encountered

escalation of commitment


Escalation of Commitment
  • A decision maker initially makes a decision that results in some kind of loss or negative outcome.
  • Rather than change the course of action contained in the initial decision, the decision maker commits more time, money, or effort to the course of action.
  • Further losses are experienced because of this escalation of commitment to a failing course of action.
Legend for Chart: A - Date B - Cost Estimate C - Projected Completion and Operation A B C April 14, 1966 $65-75 million 1973 September 20, 1970 250 million 1975 December 19, 1971 271 million 1977 December 5, 1972 350 million 1977 April 1, 1973 506 million 1978 April 1, 1974 695 million 1978 April 1, 1976 969 million 1978 March 7, 1979 1.3 billion End of 1980 June 4, 1979 1.5 billion December 1981 April 15, 1980 2.2 billion Late 1982 December 27, 1981 2.5 billion 1983 November 4, 1982 3.1 billion 1983 November 28, 1983 4.0 billion Complete but not ready February 24, 1984 4.1 billion July 1985 June 1, 1985 4.3 billion October 1985 November 11, 1985 4.5 billion September 20, 1987 4.6 billion December 13, 1987 5.0 billion March 18, 1988 5.2 billion March 1, 1989 5.5 billion Agreement to abandon
reasons for escalation of commitment


Reasons forEscalation of Commitment
  • Decision makers often do not want to admit to themselves or to other people that they have made a mistake.
  • Decision makers erroneously believe that an additional commitment of resources is justified, given how much has been spent already, and may help to recoup some of the losses.
  • Decision makers tend to take more risks when they frame or view decisions in negative terms rather than in positive terms.
group decision making
Group Decision Making
  • Decisions often are made by groups of people
    • May be composed of individuals at different or at the same level in the organization
    • May make some decisions without managerial input
    • Tend to follow the same decision-making process
    • Will have dynamics and interpersonal processes that make group decision making very different from decisions made by an individual
decision making process2

Common Information Bias

Diversity-based Infighting

Risky Shift


Group Decision Making

Devil’s Advocacy


Dialectical Inquiry

Nominal Group Technique

Delphi Technique

Decision-Making Process

Adapted from Exhibit 10-3: Group Decision-Making Phenomena—Pitfalls and Techniques

group decision making pitfalls
Group Decision-Making Pitfalls
  • Groupthink
    • Group members maintain or seek consensus at the expense of identifying and debating honest disagreements
      • Group members like one another and therefore do not want to criticize each other’s ideas
      • Group members have high regard for the group’s collective wisdom and therefore yield to early ideas or the ideas of a leader
      • Group members derive satisfaction from membership in a group possessing a positive self-image and therefore try to prevent the group from having any serious divisions
group decision making pitfalls1
Group Decision-Making Pitfalls
  • Groupthink
    • Symptoms include
      • Self-censorship
      • Pressure
      • Unanimity
  • Rationalization
  • Invulnerability
  • Mindguards
  • Morality
  • Stereotype
  • Common information bias
    • Group members overemphasize information held by a majority, failing to be mindful of information held by one or a few group members reduces
      • Availability of unique information ideas
      • Perspectives possessed by individual group members
group decision making pitfalls2
Group Decision-Making Pitfalls
  • Diversity-based infighting
    • Instead of creating rich discussions and insight, diverse ideas create ill will and fractured groups
      • May occur when individuals feel strongly about their ideas
      • No mechanisms exist to channel disagreement in productive ways
  • Risky Shift
    • Groups make either riskier decisions than would have been made by individual members acting alone
      • Direction of shift may be affected by diffusion of responsibility
group decision making techniques
Group Decision-Making Techniques
  • Brainstorming
    • Large number of ideas are generated while evaluation of the ideas is deferred
      • Imagination is encouraged. No idea is too unique or different, and the more ideas offered the better
      • Using or building on the ideas of others is encouraged
      • There is no criticism of any idea, no matter how bad it may seem at the time
      • Evaluation is postponed until the group can no longer think of any new ideas
group decision making techniques1
Group Decision-Making Techniques
  • Nominal group technique
    • Individuals silently, and without discussion, write down their ideas
    • Each member presents one idea at a time, until all ideas are presented, without discussion
    • Ideas presented on a blackboard and then discussed to clarify and evaluate
    • Silent and independent vote or ranking of alternative choices
  • Delphi technique
    • Highly structured survey of participants regarding their opinions or best judgments
group decision making techniques2
Group Decision-Making Techniques
  • Dialectical inquiry
    • Debate between very different sets of recommendations and assumptions to encourage full discussion
    • Overcomes tendency of group to avoid conflict when evaluating alternatives
  • Devil’s advocacy
    • Individual or subgroup argues against the recommended actions and assumptions put forth by other members of the group
    • Also overcomes tendency of group to avoid conflict when evaluating alternatives
who should decide vroom yetton method

Exhibit 10-4

Managerial Approaches to Associate Involvement in

Decision Making



Who Should Decide? (Vroom-Yetton Method)


AI—Manager solves problem or makes decision alone, using information to which she has current access.

AII—Manager requests information or may not explain the problem to associates. Associates’ role in process is only to provide specific information requested.

CI—Manager explain problem to relevant associates, one by one, requesting input as individuals. After discussion with individuals, manager makes decision along, either using or not using associate’s input.

CII—Manager explains problem to associates as a group, obtaining group members’ ideas and suggestions. Later, manager makes decision alone, either using or not using associate’s input.

GII—Manager explains problem to associates as a group, working together with them to generate and evaluate alternatives and agree on a solution. Manager acts as facilitator, does not force group to accept his solution, and will accept and implement a solution supported by the group.

Level of Associate Involvement in Decision

Adapted from Exhibit 10-4: Managerial Approaches to Associate Involvement in Decision Making

who should decide vroom yetton method1
Who Should Decide? (Vroom-Yetton Method)
  • Questions asked to determine level of associate involvement in decision making
    • Is there a quality requirement such that one solution is likely to be more rational than solution, or will any number of solutions work reasonably well)?
    • Do I have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?
    • Is the problem structured (do I know the question to ask and where to look for relevant information?
    • Is acceptance of the decision by associates critical to effective implementation?
    • If I were to make the decision by myself, is it reasonably certain that it would be accepted by my associates?
    • Do the associates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving this problem?
    • Is conflict among associates likely in preferred solutions?
who should decide vroom yetton method2









































Decision points



Recommended strategies


Who Should Decide? (Vroom-Yetton Method)








value of individual vs group decision making
Value of Individual vs. Group Decision Making
  • Important considerations for judging the overall value of group decision vs. individual decision making
    • Time
    • Cost
    • Nature of the problem
    • Satisfaction and commitment
    • Personal growth
value of individual vs group decision making1

Exhibit 10-6

Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

Value of Individual vs. Group Decision Making

Communication In the United States Elsewhere

Groups can accumulate more knowledge and facts and thus generate more and better alternatives.

Groups take more time to reach decisions than do individuals.

Groups often display superior judgment when evaluating alternatives, especially for complex problems.

Group social interactions may lead to premature compromise and failure to consider all alternatives fully.

Group involvement in decisions leads to a higher level of acceptance of the decisions and satisfaction.

Groups are often dominated by one or two “decision leaders” which may reduce acceptance, satisfaction and quality.

Group decision making can result in growth for members of the group.

Managers may rely too much on group decisions, leading to loss of their own decision and implementation skills.

Adapted from Exhibit 10-6: Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decision Making