100 Things You Should Know About People: #63 — Group Decision-Making Is Faulty

Picture of People At a MeetingIf your work life is anything like mine, your day is filled with groups meeting by phone or in person and making decisions. Unfortunately research shows that group decision-making has some serious flaws.

The Danger of Group-Think — Andreas Mojzisch and Stefan Schulz-Hardt (2010) presented people with information on prospective job candidates. People who received information on the group’s preferences before reviewing the candidate information, did not review the candidate information fully, and therefore did not make the best decisions. In a memory test they did not remember the most relevant information. The researchers concluded that when a group of people starts a discussion by sharing their initial preferences, they spend less time and less attention on the information that is available outside of the group’s preferences. And they therefore make a less than optimal decision.

The majority start with group discussions — The estimate is that 90% of group discussions start with group members talking about their initial impressions. According to the research this is a poor idea.

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