SP 215 Small Group CommunicationStructured and Creative Problem Solving in Groups
Problem Solving -A process in which groups analyze a problem and develop a plan of action for solving the problem or reducing its harmful effects Decision Making -Passing judgment on an issue under consideration -The act of reaching a conclusion Decision Making and Problem Solving
Costs and Benefits of Group Decision Making • Costs: Group decisions take longer and run the risk of causing conflict and hard feelings. • Benefits: Groups generate more ideas than individuals and are better equipped to find rational and workable solutions to complex problems.
Decision-Making Methods • Voting • Consensus When all group members agree to support a group decision • Authority Rule When a single person or someone outside the group makes the final decision, with or without recommendations from the group
Voting Voting works best when: • The group is pressed for time. • The issue is not highly controversial. • ________________________________. • ________________________________. • ________________________________.
Consensus Guidelines • Listen carefully to others. • Don’t change your mind to avoid conflict or to reach a quick decision. • Welcome differences of opinion. • Avoid agreeing to a false consensus. • ________________________________. • ________________________________. • ________________________________.
A. Question of Fact Is it true, did it happen, what was the cause? B. Question of Conjecture Will it happen? C. Question of Value Is it right, moral, good? D. Question of Policy What should be done? ___ Should the U.S. provide healthcare for all citizens? ___ How many Americans lack health insurance? ___ Will stem cell research help cure diseases? ___ Is the Canadian health care system better than the U.S. system? Match the Decision-Making Questions
PowerPoint Quiz “Should the company assist employees with their child care needs?” This group discussion question asks a question of • policy. • procedure. • fact. • conjecture. • value.
The Need for Structured Procedures Benefits of Structured Procedures • Balanced Participation • Effective Conflict Resolution • Clear Organization • Group Empowerment
The Two-Step Creative Process • The Creative Thinking Process Searches, separates, and connects thoughts from many sources, while limiting judgment • The Creative Output Process: • Combines previously unrelated elements into something new
A. Investigation B. Imagination C. Incubation D. Insight ___ Unusual ideas are generated and discussed. ___ Imaginative ideas percolate and recombine in new ways. ___ The “Aha!” moment occurs and a new solution emerges. ___ Members gather information and analyze the problem. Identify the Creative Process Stages
A. Inertia B. Instruction C. Imitation D. Innovation __ Someone showed us how to do it. __ We have developed a new way to do it __ We’ve seen how it’s done. __ We’ve done it before. Match the Types of Group Action
The Standard Agenda The Standard Agenda • Task Clarification • Problem Identification • Fact Finding • Solution Criteria and Limitations • Solution Suggestions • Solution Evaluation and Selection • Solution Implementation
Functional Theory • Effective preparation requires that members: • are interested and energetic • research and use quality information • select an appropriate procedure • Effective procedures require that members: • understand the issues • agree upon solution criteria • identify possible solutions • review pros and cons • select the solution
Single-Question Format Focuses on a single question that, if carefully analyzed and responsibly answered, should provide a solution • Identify the problem. • Create a collaborative setting. • Analyze the issues. • Identify possible solutions. • Resolve the question.
Brainstorming Brainstorming . . . • can generate many ideas in a short period of time. • works best when members are comfortable with a freewheeling process. • can fail if members are self-conscious and sensitive to implied criticism. • can enhance creativity and produce numerous worthwhile ideas.
Brainstorming Guidelines Sharpen the Focus For All to See Number the Ideas Encourage Creativity All Input, No Put Down Build and Jump Explanation __________________ __________________ __________________ __________________ __________________ __________________ Brainstorming Guidelines
PowerPoint Quiz All of the following are guidelines for effective brainstorming EXCEPT: • Evaluate ideas only at the end. • Post the ideas for all to see. • Wait awhile for group members to think before starting to brainstorm. • Avoid combining ideas.
Nominal Group Technique (NGT) Developed to maximize participation while minimizing interpersonal problems associated with group interaction • A collection of people who, at first, work individually rather than collectively. • Two NGT phases: • fact-finding • evaluation
NGT: Fact-Finding Phase • Each member writes ideas on paper. • Structured sharing of ideas takes place. • Recorder writes all ideas on flip chart. • Round-robin listing continues until all members indicate they have no further ideas to share.
NGT: Evaluation Phase • Discussion is structured so that each idea receives attention before voting. • Members are asked to clarify or state support/nonsupport of each idea. • Independent voting by ranking ideas. • Group decision is a mathematically pooled outcome of individual votes.
Decreasing Options Technique (DOT) • Helps groups reduce and refine a large number of suggestions into a manageable number of ideas • Five Basic Steps • Generate Ideas • Post Ideas • Sort Ideas • Dot the Ideas • Prioritize Ideas
When to Use DOT Use DOT when the group . . . • is so large that a discussion of many ideas is unworkable. • has generated many competing ideas. • wants everyone to contribute. • wants to restrain dominant members from exerting too much influence. • lacks time to discuss multiple or controversial ideas.
A. Control judgment B. Encourage innovation C. Ask “What If?” D. Use metaphors __ Minimizes negative responses to new ideas __ Encourages members to think outside the box __ Discourages preconceived notions about what can and can’t be done __ Forces group members to look at a problem in new and creative ways Ways to Enhance Group Creativity
Problem-Solving Realities • Factors that affect the outcome of group decisions: • Politics • Preexisting preferences • Power • Use an established decision-makingprocedure to minimize these factors.
Group Decision Making and Problem Solving We discussed decision making and problem solving before however, there are some factors to consider. 3/12/2014 28
Information Overload Information is the raw material of the group decision making and problem solving. Information overload occurs when the rate of information flow into a system and/or the complexity of that information exceeds the system’s capacity. 3/12/2014 29
Four main consequences of information overload: 1) Impairs critical thinking – Separating the wheat from the chaff. Vast amounts of information makes it difficult to distinguish useless from useful information. 2) Indecisiveness – Conclusion Irresolution. Too much information can promote indecisiveness. 3/12/2014 30
Four main consequences of information overload: 3) Information Bulimia – Binging and Purging. Information Bulimia is a binge and purge cycle of information processing. Ex: Students who cram facts for an exam. 3/12/2014 31
Four main consequences of information overload: 4) Group Attention Deficit Disorder – Difficulty Concentrating. Information overload can produce a kind of group attention deficit disorder (ADD). The megamountains of information competing for group members’ attention makes focusing on any one idea, concept, or problem extremely difficult. 3/12/2014 32
Coping with information overload: 1) Screen information – limit exposure to information. 2) Shutting off technology – turn off cell phones, pagers, and so on. 3) Specializing – knowing more about a little than knowing little about a lot. Ex: Don’t try to feed us the entire pie, give us as slice. Know a lot about a little. 3/12/2014 33
Coping with information overload: 4) Becoming Selective – attend to information that relates directly to group goals and priorities. 5) Limiting the Search – set time for searching and time for deciding. 6) Narrowing the Search – use credible databases; find patterns. 3/12/2014 34
Information Underload Information overload is more prevalent and a significant problem than information underload. Information underload refers to an insufficient amount of information available to a group for decision making purposes. 3/12/2014 35
Information Underload Information underload is usually a problem of too much closedness in a system. Develop perceptual mindsets: the group members’ all seeing the world in the same way. 3/12/2014 36
Collective Inferential Error: Conclusions made about the unknown based upon what is known – group members draw inferences from previous experiences, factual data, and predispositions. In other words, members rely on their own knowledge base. 3/12/2014 37
Sources of Inferential Error: 1) General sources of inferential errors: Seriously limited information base (insufficient quantity of information). Faulty information base (poor-quality information) 3/12/2014 38
Sources of Inferential Error: 2) Specific sources of inferential errors: Vividness – the graphic, outrageous, shocking, controversial, dramatic event draws our attention and sticks in our minds (i.e., NEWS Stories). Unrepresentativeness – distorting the facts (ex: pit bull dogs being mean). Correlation – X causes Y (Pos/Neg, as you get older, your skin wrinkles). 3/12/2014 39
Groupthink - Janis Definition: A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for uniformity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action. In other words, loss of objectivity within the groups decision making process. 3/12/2014 40
Groupthink -Main symptoms: 1) Overestimation of the group’s power and morality – arrogance. Illusion of invulnerability. Unquestioned belief in the inherent morality of the group. 2) Closed-Mindedness Rationalizations. Negative stereotyped views of the enemy. 3/12/2014 41
Groupthink -Main symptoms: 3) Pressures toward Uniformity – presenting a united front. Self-censorship of contradictory opinion. Illusions of unanimity. Direct pressure applied to deviants. Self-appointed mindguards. 3/12/2014 42
GroupthinkMain prevention: Preventing Groupthink: Recognize groupthink when it first begins. Minimize statues differences Seek information that challenges emerging concurrences. Develop norms that legitimizes disagreement. 3/12/2014 43
Group Project 3/12/2014 44
Group Project John Dewey’s Problem Solving Sequence. Eight (8) Steps 3/12/2014 45
Group Project Step 1: Define the Problem. This step includes defining exactly what the problem is. What are the symptoms which lead group to become aware of the problem. Major Minor 3/12/2014 46
Group Project Defining the problem is very important in arriving at solutions that will help solve the problem. If you don’t know or understand the problem, it will difficult to solve the problem. 3/12/2014 47
Group Project An improperly defined problem may result in a solution which may bring some change but not in the area the group hoped would change. Word the problem correctly. 3/12/2014 48
Group Project Step 2: List the causes of the problem. This step is very complex at times but is critical to help solve for the problem. The group must attempt to discover ALL apparent causes for the problem. 3/12/2014 49
Group Project Understand that it is impossible to do away with all the causes to solve for the problem but it is still important to know to what extent each cause contributes to the problem and which causes can be solved. Sometime large problems need to be broken down into smaller parts with each part analyzed and solved separately. 3/12/2014 50