Are Groups Riskier Decision Makers than Individuals

Essay by rolfeman02University, Master'sA+, April 2004

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Are Groups Riskier Decision Makers than Individuals

A group is defined as two or more employees who interact with each other in such a manner that the behavior and/or performance of a member is influenced by the behavior and/or performance of other members (Gibson, Ivancevich &, Donnelly, Jr., 2000, p. 201). Groups are formed for various reasons. Some reasons involve needs, proximity, attraction, goals, and economics. Groups have many characteristics. These characteristics include the structure, status hierarchy, roles, norms, leadership, cohesiveness, and inter group conflict (Gibson, Ivancevich &, Donnelly, Jr., 2000, p. 206-210). Whether decisions should be made by individuals or by groups is an issue that management faces in today's workforce. Research has shown there are benefits to both individuals and groups making decisions however support leans towards groups being less risky decision-makers.

Structure is one characteristic of groups and within any group, some type of structure will form over a period of time.

"Group members are differentiated on the basis of such factors as expertise, aggressiveness, power, and status; each member occupies a position within the group. The pattern of relationships among the positions constitutes a group structure. Members of a group evaluate each position's prestige, status, and importance to the group" (Gibson et al., 2000, p. 206).

Status hierarchy is formed within all groups and is assigned to a particular position typically as a consequence of certain characteristics that differentiate one position from other positions. Status is assigned to people within a group usually based on job seniority, age, or ability.

"Each person in a group structure has an associated role that consists of the expected behaviors of the occupant of that position. In addition to expected roles (what the job title entails and what is expected from that person according to...