Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making

Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making - Chapter...

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Chapter 18: Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making - Hirokawa and Gouran are convinced that group interaction has a positive effect on the final decision - Hirokawa seeks quality solutions, Gouran seeks for decisions that are appropriate - Both scholars regard talk as the social tool that helps groups reach better conclusions than they otherwise would - Functional perspective – a prescriptive approach that describes and predicts task- group performance when four communication functions are fulfilled 4 functions of effective decision making - Hirokawa and Gouran see the group decision-making process as needing to fulfil 4 task requirements of members are to reach a high-quality solution, they refer these conditions as requisite functions (requirements for positive group outcome)of effective decision making: 4 functions are (1) problem analysis (2) Goal setting (3) Identification of alternatives (4) evaluation of positive and negative characteristics of each alternative n 1. Analysis of problem - need to take a realistic look - people need to confront misunderstandings or problem that confronts the group - determine the nature, extent, and cause(s) of the problem facing the group 2. Goal setting - establishing criteria by which to judge proposed solutions 3. Identification of Alternatives - generation of options to sufficiently solve the problem 4. Evaluation of Positive and Negative characteristics - testing the relative merits of each option against the criteria selected; weighing the benefits and costs Prioritizing the 4 functions - Evaluation of negative consequences of alternative solutions was the most crucial function to ensure a quality decision The role of communication in fulfilling the functions Verbal interaction makes it possible for people to - Distribute and pool information - Catch and remedy errors - Influence each other But distractions and nonproductive conversation create channel noise causing a loss of information Actual group productivity = Potential productivity – Losses due to processes - Communication is best when it does not obstruct or distort free flow of ideas - Hirokawa believes that communication plays a more active role in crafting quality decisions, regards group discussion as a tool or instrument that group members use to create the social reality in which decisions are made 3 types of communication in decision-making 1. Promotive – interaction that moves group along the goal path by calling attention to one of the 4 requisite decision-making functions 2. Disruptive – interaction that diverts, retards, or frustrates group members’ ability to achieve the 4 task functions 3. Counteractive – interaction that members use to get the group back on track “Effective group decision-making is perhaps best understood as a consequence of the exercise of counteractive influence” – someone has to say something that will get the group back on track
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