You are on page 1of 31

9

DECISION MAKING BY INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS

CHAPTER SCAN Decision making can be strengthened individually and in group situations. Groups can use techniques such as brainstorming, nominal group technique, Delphi technique, devil's advocacy, and dialectical inquiry. Groups must be aware of difficulties that deter decision making like groupthink and group polarization. Individual decision making can be analyzed by examining cognitive styles that are used for gathering information and evaluating alternatives. Models of decision-making range from very rational (e.g., the rational model) to irrational (e.g., the garbage can model). Intuition and creativity can be developed and improved to assist decision makers. Finally, technology can aid individuals or groups through expert systems, and group decision support systems.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following: 1. Explain the assumptions of bounded rationality. 2. Describe Jung's cognitive styles and how they affect managerial decision making. 3. Understand the role of creativity in decision making, and practice ways to increase your own creativity. 4. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making. 5. Discuss the symptoms of groupthink and ways to prevent it. 6. Evaluate the strengths and weakness of several group decision-making techniques. 7. Describe the effects that expert systems and group decision support systems have on decision-making organizations. 8. Utilize an "ethics check" for examining managerial decisions.

143

144

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

KEY TERMS The following key terms are introduced in Chapter 9. programmed decision nonprogrammed decision effective decision rationality bounded rationality satisfice heuristics garbage can model risk aversion escalation of commitment cognitive style intuition creativity participative decision making synergy social decision schemes groupthink group polarization brainstorming nominal group technique (NGT) Delphi technique devil's advocacy dialectical inquiry

THE CHAPTER SUMMARIZED I. II. LOOKING AHEAD: Starbucks In Chicago: Was It A Bad Decision? THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

Decisions that managers make are either programmed decisions (which are routine, and have established decisions rules) or nonprogrammed decisions (new, complex decisions that require creative solutions). The decision making process is a step-by-step approach that can be utilized for a variety of types of problems.

III.

MODELS OF DECISION MAKING

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups Effective decisions are timely and meet a desired objective. A. Rational Model

145

The rational model is an offshoot of the scientific management approach, assuming that there is a completely rational solution to all problems. This model assumes that decision makers have consistent systems of preferences, that they are aware of all alternatives, and that they can accurately calculate the probability of success for each alternative. B. Bounded Rationality Model

Bounded rationality is a theory that suggests that there are limits to how rational a decision maker can actually be. If the decision factors do not deal with humans, the probability of rationality increases. Since managers cannot make perfect decisions, they tend to select the first alternative that is "good enough" to satisfice. This is similar to students selecting a college that is within their decision frame, as opposed to viewing all 3,000 available colleges and universities. Satisficing involves a shortcut, intuitive approach to decision making, which is referred to as heuristics. Heuristics are shortcuts in decision making that save mental activity. The development of heuristics became the backbone of expert systems, by capturing the intuitive shortcuts of experts, and modeling a program to mimic this behavior. C. Garbage Can Model

In another model, problems, solutions, participants, and choice opportunities float around randomly within the organization. This haphazard approach is referred to as the Garbage Can Model. IV. DECISION MAKING AND RISK A. Risk and the Manager

One of the difficulties with decisions that are innovative is that they also tend to be risky. Unfortunately, many managers tend to be risk averse. Risk aversion is the tendency to choose options that entail fewer risks and less uncertainty. The problem is that risky decisions typically produce novel ideas and potentially high payoffs.

146

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups B. Escalation of Commitment

Once individuals make decisions they have a tendency to become committed to the decision. Escalation of commitment is the tendency to continue to commit resources to a losing course of action. Students may draw the analogy between stubbornness and escalation of commitment. V. JUNG'S COGNITIVE STYLES

An individual's preference for gathering information and evaluating alternatives is his or her cognitive style. The Z problem solving method outlines 4 steps for good decisions, (1) examine the facts and details, (2) generate alternatives, (3) analyze the alternatives objectively, and (4) weigh the impact of the decision. These four steps are analogues to using the following preferences: (1) sensing, (2) intuiting, (3) thinking, and (4) feeling. VI. OTHER INDIVIDUAL INFLUENCES ON DECISION MAKING A. Role of Intuition

Intuition has made a comeback among managers. This is in part because of the impact that intuition has made on the development of expert systems. Intuition is a fast, positive force in decision making utilized at a level below consciousness that involves learned patterns of information. B. Creativity at Work

Creativity is the process influenced by individual and organizational factors that results in the production of novel and useful ideas, products, or both. Recent discoveries regarding creativity tell us that creativity can be learned similarly to a skill. 1. Individual Influences

Personality factors appear to be related to creativity. Some of the characteristics include intellectual and artistic values, breadth of interests, high energy, concern with achievement, independence of judgment, intuition, self-confidence, and a creative self-image. This latter component is the area that is typically destroyed from childhood to adulthood. 2. Organizational Influences

Part of creativity training involves learning to open up mental locks that keep us from generating creative alternatives to a decision or problem. 3. Individual/Organization Fit

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups Creative decision making requires creative, motivated individuals and organizations that nurture and reward creative behavior. There are cultural differences that enhance or inhibit our ability to use creativity in our lives. VII. PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING A. The Effects of Participation

147

Participative decision making is a situation in which individuals affected by decisions influence the making of those decisions. Participation increases employee satisfaction and creativity. Some studies have shown that participation is related to increases in productivity. B. Foundations for Participation and Empowerment

The organizational foundations for empowerment include a participative, supportive organizational culture and a team-oriented work design. One of the difficulties of implementing participative groups is that operational-level managers perceive that they have to give up more of their power than do middle-or upper-level managers. This concept is referred to as "first-line blues." The three individual prerequisites for empowerment include (1) the capability to become psychologically involved in participative activities, (2) the motivation to act autonomously, and (3) the capacity to see the relevance of participation for one's own well-being. C. What Level of Participation?

Participative decision making is complex, and employees can be involved in some, or all, of the stages of the process. Employees who are involved in all five of the stages have higher satisfaction and performance levels. VIII. THE GROUP DECISION-MAKING PROCESS A. Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

One advantage of group decision making is the synergy it creates. In addition, the process of decision making gains approval for the solution. A major disadvantage is that it is a slow, time-consuming approach to decisions. It has been said that no situations allow for the time that is necessary to make a reasoned, well thought out decision. B. Groupthink

One of the major disadvantages of group decision making is the tendency for groupthink. Groupthink is a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment

148

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups resulting from in-group pressures. This happens because the cohesiveness and the solidarity of the group tend to stifle disagreement and questions about the group's chosen course of action. C. Group Polarization

Group polarization is the tendency for group discussion to produce shifts toward more extreme attitudes among members. Group polarization can be seen with juries that become locked in disagreement. IX. TECHNIQUES FOR GROUP DECISION MAKING A. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a technique for generating as many ideas as possible on a given subject, while suspending evaluation until all the ideas have been suggested. B. Nominal Group Techniques

Nominal group technique is a structured approach to group decision making that focuses on generating alternatives and choosing one. Nominal group technique is a refinement of brainstorming. C. Delphi Technique

The Delphi technique gathers judgments of experts for use in decision making. D. Devil's Advocacy

A devil's advocate is an approach for preventing groupthink. An individual plays the part of the antagonist to arouse discussion and thought, bringing out the opposite viewpoint. E. Dialectical Inquiry

A debate between two opposing sets of recommendations is referred to as dialectical inquiry. F. Quality Circles and Quality Teams

Quality circles and teams are combining the best of collaborative group efforts with a specific improvement in mind. G. Self-Managed Teams The difference between self-managed teams and quality circles is the level of empowerment that goes with their assignment. Self-managed teams may choose to alter

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

149

the course of the group or meeting. Quality circles investigate a specific issue and make recommendations, but typically do not enact them. X. CULTURAL ISSUES IN DECISION MAKING

Hofstedes dimensions of culture influence the decision making process. Uncertainty avoidance influences whether or not decisions are seen as opportunities for change. Power distance affects the level at which decisions are typically made in organizations and the individualist/collectivist dimensions has implications for comfort with group decisions. The masculine/feminine dimension indicates the value placed on quick, assertive decisions versus those that show more concern for others. XI. TECHNOLOGICAL AIDS TO DECISION MAKING A. Expert Systems

Expert systems are often utilized to train novices in thought progressions. In addition, they provide checks and have the ability to alter the linear path if necessary. They are self correcting with additional information. B. Decision Support Systems

Decision support systems (DSS) are computer and communication systems that process incoming data and synthesize pertinent information for managers to use. C. Group Decision Support Systems

GDSS depersonalize issues by providing anonymity to the participants. It is possible for individuals to provide comments without regard to their status or influence in the organization. D. Decision Making in the Virtual Workplace

Virtual teams are groups of geographically dispersed coworkers who work together using a combination of telecommunications and information technologies to accomplish a task. Virtual teams require advanced technologies for communication and decision making. XII. ETHICAL ISSUES IN DECISION MAKING

Three questions should be considered: Is it ethical? Is it balanced? and How will it make me feel about myself? XIII. MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: DECISION MAKING IS A CRITICAL ACTIVITY

XIV. LOOKING BACK: Starbucks Makes the Chicago Decision Work

150

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

CHAPTER SUMMARY

Bounded rationality assumes that there are limits to how rational managers can be. The garbage can model shows that under high uncertainty, decision making in organizations can be an unsystematic process. Jung's cognitive styles can be used to help explain individual differences in gathering information and evaluating alternatives. Intuition and creativity are positive influences on decision making and should be encouraged in organizations. Empowerment and teamwork require specific organizational design elements and individual characteristics and skills. Techniques such as brainstorming, nominal group technique, Delphi technique, devil's advocacy, dialectical inquiry, quality circles and teams, and self-managed teams can help managers reap the benefits of group methods while limiting the possibilities of groupthink and group polarization. Technology is providing assistance to managerial decision making, especially through expert systems and group decision support systems. More research is needed to determine the effects of these technologies. Managers should carefully weigh the ethical issues surrounding decisions and encourage ethical decision making throughout the organization.

REVIEW QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS 1. Compare the garbage can model with the bounded rationality model. Compare the usefulness of these models in today's organizations. The rational model assumes that there is a logical, best way to resolve any problem. Decisions in the garbage model are irrational and unsystematic. Since these models represent two extremes, neither is totally representative of current decision-making in organizations. 2. List and describe Jung's four cognitive styles. How does the Z problem-solving model capitalize on the strengths of the four preferences? The cognitive style incorporates the concepts of thinking and feeling, and sensing and intuiting into four combinations: ST, SF, NT, and NF. The Z model recommends using the following preferences, in order: (1) S, (2) N, (3) T, (4) F. 3. What are the individual and organizational influences on creativity? Cognitive factors of the individual affect creativity. Personality factors also influence one's ability to be creative. Interestingly, being in a good mood provides better creativity than does a bad mood. Organizational influences include support and flexible organizational structure. Participative decision making is also related to creativity.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups 4. What are the organizational foundations of empowerment and teamwork? The individual foundations?

151

The organizational foundations of empowerment and teamwork are a participative, supportive organizational culture and a team-oriented work design. The individual foundations are: 1) the capability to become psychologically involved in participative activities; 2) the motivation to act autonomously; and 3) the capacity to see the relevance of participation for one's own well-being. 5. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of group decision making. Group decision making is slow because of the process of getting everyone involved. However, decisions are usually better decisions, and the process involving many concerned has a far greater acceptance level for the final outcome than singular decision making. 6. Describe the symptoms of groupthink and identify actions that can be taken to prevent it. The symptoms of groupthink include illusions of invulnerability, group morality, and unanimity; rationalization, stereotyping the enemy, self-censorship when group members doubt the group's decision, peer pressure to agree, and mind guards who protect the group from dissension. Ways to prevent groupthink include appointing a devil's advocate, asking each member to be a critical evaluator, creating several teams that work on the decision simultaneously, having experts evaluate the group's progress, evaluating the competition carefully, and encouraging the group to rethink its chosen course of action. 7. What techniques can be used to improve group decisions? There are several, structured techniques for improving decisions, including brainstorming, nominal group technique, Delphi technique, dialectical inquiry, and devil's advocacy.

152

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

DISCUSSION AND COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS 1. Why is the identification of the real problem the first and most important step in the decision making process? How does attribution theory explain mistakes that can be made as managers and employees work together to explain why the problem occurred? Identification of the real problem is critical because it ensures that the group will be "treating the problem instead of the symptom." Attribution theory suggests that individuals will tend to look to external causes to explain their own failure. This could bias the problem-solving process. 2. How can organizations effectively manage both risk taking and escalation of commitment in the decision-making behavior of employees? Students may suggest solutions including policies such as requiring that someone outside the decision making team review a decision to try to guard against excessive risk-taking. Organizations may manage the escalation of commitment by having different individuals make initial and later decisions. 3. How will you most likely make decisions based on your cognitive style? What might you overlook using your preferred approach? The key to this question is to identify what our predominant style is, and to recognize that it may not be appropriate in all situations. The Z model incorporates the strengths of all four preferences. 4. How can organizations encourage creative decision making? Organizations can reward risk-taking, provide a supportive environment, and permit failure. 5. What are some organizations that use expert systems? Group decision support systems? How will these two technologies affect managerial decision making? Campbell Soup Company and DuPont use expert systems while Boeing utilizes a GDSS. Students could also look to the six focus companies to respond to this question or examine organizations with which they have had personal experience. These tools may help simplify the decision process and can affect conflict management within a group.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

153

6. How do the potential risks associated with participating in quality circles differ from those associated with participating in quality teams? If you were a member of a quality circle, how would management's decisions to reject your recommendations affect your motivation to participate? Quality circles are generated from the bottom up; therefore they operate from fewer formal bases of power in the organization. 7. Form a team of four persons. Find two examples of recent decisions made in organizations: one that you consider a good decision, and one that you consider a bad decision. Two members should work on the good decision, and two on the bad decision. Each pair should write a brief description of the decision. Then write a summary of what went right, what went wrong, and what could be done to improve the decision process. Compare and contrast your two examples in a presentation to the class. Encourage students to apply the material from the text to their analysis of the decisions that were made. 8. Reflect on your own experience in groups and groupthink. Describe the situation in which you encountered groupthink, the symptoms that were present, and the outcome. What remedies for groupthink would you prescribe? Summarize your answers in a memo to your instructor. Be sure that the students have provided good examples from a personal experience rather than just reiterating what the textbook says about groupthink. ETHICS QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS 1. Think of a decision made by a group that you feel was an unethical one. What factors led to the unethical decision? Evaluate whether groupthink may have been a factor by examining the antecedents, symptoms, and consequences of groupthink. For students not able to think of an unethical decision, supply Watergate, the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and gang member violence. 2. How can organizations encourage ethical decision making? By rewarding and acknowledging when tough decisions are made, and by clearly communicating ethical standards. 3. How do cultural differences affect ethical decision making? The value systems differ sharply, and decisions are based on our belief systems. Many people want to impose their own values upon others, and this can lead to conflict. 4. Describe groupthink as an ethical problem.

154

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

Groupthink becomes an ethical problem when the group makes less than ethical decisions. This is a likely outcome of groupthink, because members tend to view themselves as above reproach, and assume that because they are moral individuals, any decision they make will be a morally correct one. One way to avoid the problem would be to have groups continuously evaluate whether their decisions are ethical, or to submit the decision to the outside parties for review. 5. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that employees make ethical decisions? It is joint responsibility. The organization should set the tone and assist in the environment, but ultimately the individual will probably be held accountable for the decision. 6. Using the "ethics check," evaluate the decision to launch the Challenger. How could a knowledge of ethical decision making have aided the individuals who made this decision? The first question is whether the actions of NASA's decision makers were illegal. An accurate answer here requires a knowledge of law, but students may wish to speculate on this one. The second question is whether the decision was balanced or fair to all concerned. Obviously, the Challenger decision was not fair. Engineers were not given an opportunity to provide input for the launch. Full disclosure of potential problems with the launch was not made to all potential participants in the decision. The third question is how the decision will make the decision makers feel about themselves. Undoubtedly, many of those responsible regret the launch decision. Its tragic consequences may have been the product of groupthink.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups CHALLENGES 9.1 Which Side of Your Brain Do You Favor?

155

This self-assessment exercise encourages students to explore which hemisphere (if either) of their brain is dominant. You may wish to conduct a discussion of: a) the importance of being able to see the big picture and plan strategically -- which requires right-brain skills and b) the importance of being able to understand the details of day-to-day operations -- which requires left-brain skills. 9.2 CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING 1. Maine + Massachusetts + New Hampshire + Vermont + Connecticut + Rhode Island = New England 2. 1 bird in the hand =2 in the bush 3. 8 days minus 24 hours = 1 week 4. 3 pair = 6 5. Hour hand + minute hand at 12 = Noon or midnight 6. 4 Jacks + 4 Queens + 4 Kings = All the face cards 7. Sunday & Monday & Tuesday & Wednesday & Thursday & Friday & Saturday are Days of Week 8. Army + Navy + Air Force + Marine Corps + Coast Guard = Armed Forces 9. Texas = Lone Star State 10. 23 years - 3 years = 2 decades 11. Eight - 8 = Zero 12. Yesterday + 2 Days = Tomorrow 13. Christmas + 6 Days = New Years Eve 14. Year - Summer - Spring - Autumn = Winter 15. Adam & Eve were in the Garden of Eden 16. My Fair Lady and South Pacific are both Musical Comedies 17. No news = Good news 18. Nina + Pinta + Santa Maria = Ships of Columbus 19. 1 + 6 zeros = 1 million 20. A rose is a rose is a rose. 21. Abraham Lincoln & James Garfield & William McKinley & John Kennedy were all Assassinated 22. Noun + Verb + Pronoun + Adverb + Adjective + Conjunction + Preposition + Interjection = Parts of Speech 23. Senate + House of Representatives = United States Congress

156

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISES 9.1 MAKING A LAYOFF DECISION Instructor's Notes: This exercise challenges students to make a fair, but difficult decision regarding a layoff in an organization. Students will discover their biases as they examine their reasons for selecting the person to be laid off. This is a good exercise to turn into a short paper since there is a growing amount of information related to reductions in force and effects on morale in the organization. Typical issues that will emerge are survivor syndrome, guilt, leadership style, sexism, racism, ageism, and communications.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups 9.2 THE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE Instructor's Notes:

157

Here are the recommended courses of action for each of the situations in the Wilderness Survival Worksheet. These answers come from the comprehensive course on woodland survival taught by the Interpretive Service, Monroe County (New York) Parks Department. These responses are considered to be the best rules of thumb for most situations; specific situations, however, might require other courses of action. 1. (a.) Call "help" loudly but in a low register. Low tones carry farther, especially in dense woodland. There is a much better chance of being heard if you call loudly but in a low key. "Help" is a good word to use, because it alerts your companions to your plight. Yelling or screaming would not only be less effective, but might be passed off as a bird call by your friends far away. 2. (a.) Make a lot of noise with your feet. Snakes do not like people and will usually do everything they can to get out of your way. Unless you surprise or corner a snake, there is a good chance that you will not even see one, let alone come into contact with it. Some snakes do feed at night, and walking softly may bring you right on top of a snake. 3. (c.) Put a bit of the plant on you lower lip for five minutes; if it seems all right, try a little. The best approach, of course, is to eat only those plants that you recognize as safe. But when you are in doubt and very hungry, you may use the lip test. If the plant is poisonous, you will get a very unpleasant sensation on your lip. Red berries alone do not tell you much about the plant's edibility (unless, of course, you recognize the plant by the berries), and birds just do not have the same digestive system as we do. 4. (c.) Drink as much as you think you need when you need it. The danger here is dehydration, and once the process starts, your liter of water will not do much to reverse it. Saving or rationing will not help, especially if you are lying unconscious somewhere from sunstroke or dehydration. So use the water as you need it, and be aware of your need to find a water source as soon as possible. 5. (c.) Dig in the stream bed at the outside of a bend. This is the part of the river or stream that flows the fastest, is less silted, deepest, and the last part to go dry. 6. (c.) Midway up the slope. A sudden rain storm might turn the ravine into a raging torrent. This has happened to many campers and hikers before they had a chance to escape. The rigid line, on the other hand, increases your exposure to rain, wind, and lightning, should a storm break. The best location is on the slope. 7. (b.) Put the batteries under your armpits to warm them, and then replace them in the flashlight. Flashlight batteries lose much of their power, and weak batteries run down faster, in

158

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

the cold. Warming the batteries, especially if they are already weak, will restore them for a while. You would normally avoid night travel, of course, unless you were in open country where you could use the stars for navigation. There are just too many obstacles (logs, branches, uneven ground, and so on) that might injure you--and a broken leg, injured eye, or twisted ankle would not help your plight right now. Once the sun sets, darkness falls quickly in wooded areas, it would usually be best to stay at your campsite. 8. (a.) Yellow. A yellow flame indicates incomplete combustion and a strong possibility of carbon monoxide buildup. Each year many campers are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning as they sleep or doze in tents, cabins, or other enclosed spaces. 9. (a.) Leave your boots and pack on. Errors in fording rivers are a major cause of fatal accidents. Sharp rocks or uneven footing demand that you keep your boots on. If your pack is rather well-balanced, wearing it will provide you the most stability in the swift current. A waterproof, zippered backpack will usually float, even when loaded with normal camping gear; if you step off into a hole or deep spot, the pack could become a lifesaver. 10. (b.) Across the stream. Errors in facing the wrong way in fording a stream are the cause of many drownings. Facing upstream is the worst alternative; the current could push you back and your pack would provide the unbalance to pull you over. You have the best stability facing across the stream, keeping your eye on the exit point on the opposite bank. 11. (c.) In stocking feet. Here you can pick your route to some degree, and you can feel where you are stepping. Normal hiking boots become slippery, and going barefooted offers your feet no protection at all. 12. (c.) Freeze, but be ready to back away slowly. Sudden movement will probably startle the bear a lot more than your presence. If the bear is seeking some of your food, do not argue with him; let him forage and be on his way. Otherwise, back very slowly toward some refuge (trees, rock outcrop, etc.). SOURCE: J. W. Pfeiffer and J. E. Jones (eds.) The 1976 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, San Diego, CA: Pfeiffer & Company, 1976. Used with permission.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups ALTERNATIVE EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISE WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT? Janet W. Wohlberg, Scott Weighart, OB in Action, Cases and Exercises, 3rd edition, c1992, Houghton Mifflin.

159

Instructor's Notes: This is a role play to be used with groups of five. For groups of four, omit either employee 1 or employee 2. For larger groups, add one or more observers (see observer sheet) or double up on one of the employees. The entire exercise can take more than an hour: 50 minutes or more to read the background material and roles and carry out the role play, 30 minutes or more for discussion. Be sure that the groups have enough physical space so as not to interfere with one another's discussions. Step 1 Make enough copies of each role so that each member of the class has one role description. Step 2 Be sure that everyone in the class has read the brief background description. (It may help to read it aloud to the class.) Step 3 (optional) After distributing the roles to the members of each group, divide the class into groups of the same-role members - that is, all of the managers together, all employee 1s together, and so forth. This gives individuals a chance to identify with and better understand their roles. Give the groups about 20 minutes to discuss their roles as they wish and clarify that they are not bound by the group's suggested strategies. Meet with the group of managers to answer any questions concerning what they are to do. Assign about one-third of the managers to be highly autocratic. This means that the managers can listen to the employees, but that they should make clear from the outset that the decision is going to come from management. Autocratic managers should says things such as: "I don't really care about your brother's wedding," and so forth. Assign about one-third of the managers to be extremely laissez faire. This means that the managers should constantly remind the workers that the decision is not of interest to them. In other words, the workers should be told, "Do whatever you want," and so forth. Assign the last third of the managers to be democratic. This means that the managers should clearly frame the problem for the workers, listen to their concerns, and actively lead them to a solution that has the widest acceptance and still meets the needs of the organization. Step 4

160

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

Redivide the class into work groups, each of which includes a manager and a player for each employee role. (Interesting results, for the purposes of comparison within the class, can come from arranging the groups in specific ways-that is, all male workers with a female manager, all female workers with a male manager, workers from one culture with a manager from another, all members from the same cultural background, and so forth. Or, try assigning the manager's role in some groups to students who are highly authoritarian and to others who are highly participative.) Step 5 Instruct the groups that the manager must make a decision at the end of the 30 minutes of role play. Step 6 At the end of the 30 minutes, call time and ask the managers for their decisions, the methods they used in arriving at their decisions, and the bases for the decision. In addition, ask them to describe the role that they were assigned (democratic, autocratic, laissez faire). Record each group's decision in a visible place, such as a blackboard, overhead, or flip chart. Step 7 Ask the observers, if any, to report on their findings. Are these consistent with the managers' descriptions of how decisions were made? Step 8 Discuss the questions below and those on the observer sheet. Questions for Discussion 1. Given the problem presented, did the manager of your group use an appropriate leadership style? Why or why not? (If you were the manager in your group, how did you feel about the effectiveness of the leadership style you used?) 2. What do you think the manager should have done differently? 3. Did the manager listen to and consider each employee's arguments? 4. How was the decision made? Did the manager elicit input from the employees? 5. What are the implications of decision for each member? For the effectiveness of the team on Sunday? For the ultimate success and quality of the project?

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT?

161

The purpose of this role play is to give you an opportunity to explore the effectiveness of different leadership stylesin this case, autocratic, democratic, and laissez fairein decisionmaking situations. Autocratic leaders generally impose their decisions without considering the interests of their subordinates. Laissez-faire leaders, on the other hand, relinquish their decisionmaking powers to the group and its members. Democratic leaders clarify the goals to be met by the decision and work with subordinates to find a decision that best meets those goals. As you do this exercise, consider the leadership style being used by your group's manager and the ways in which you believe that style to be appropriate or not. BACKGROUND Your small company, Turnem, Inc., a manufacturer of valves that have a wide variety of uses, including use in several aspects of the aerospace industry, is on a tight deadline to complete a project. The prototype product is due to be demonstrated to the leaders of your aerospace industry the following Monday. To finish on schedule, it will be necessary for one member of your team to work this Saturday evening from about 5 P.M. to midnight and for the entire team to work at its most productive and cooperative level for the full day on Sunday. The budget allows for one member of the team to be paid to work on Saturday night. The contract for this project, although not your company's only source of revenue, is important. Review and plan out your role thoroughly. Do not discuss your role with any of your classmates until you have been told to do so. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Briefly describe the manager's dilemma. Were the employees given a fair chance to explain their concerns? How would you rate the manager's overall listening skills and why? What factors do you think the manager failed to consider in making a decision? What factors did the manager appear to use in reaching a decision? How did the employees react to the manager's leadership style, and why?

Rate your group manager on the following scale:

162

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups 10 9 8 7 6 Laissez faire 5 4 3 2 1

Autocratic

Democratic

Calculate the average rating in your group (not counting the manager's opinion!) by adding all ratings and dividing by the number of workers in the group. Rate your satisfaction with the decision on the following scale: Very dissatisfied 10 9 8 7 6 Indifferent 5 4 3 2 Very satisfied 1

Calculate the average rating of satisfaction in your group by adding all of the ratings and dividing by the number of workers. Generally, groups that perceive their leaders to be autocratic will be more dissatisfied with decisions made about who works Saturday night. Laissez-faire managers can also be frustrating to groups. Keep in mind that this may vary depending on the composition of the group: Some people actually like to be told what to do. In some cultures, mangers who involve workers in decision-making processes, such as those represented by this exercise, are considered to be ineffective; in other cultures, managers are expected to seek input from subordinates regularly. The occurrence of and acceptance of laissez-faire styles of management, however, tend to be rare compared to that of more autocratic styles.

How did your group feel about the style of your manager, and why? In what situation would you consider autocratic leadership to be both appropriate and acceptable, and why? In what situations would you consider laissez-faire leadership to be both appropriate and acceptable, and why?

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT? AUTOCRATIC MANAGER

163

You are the autocratic manager in a division of Turnem, Inc. Currently, your team is working to complete development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry and to put the finishing touches on the presentation to be made on Monday to the highest officials of your aerospace program. In order to get the project done on time, you and one member of your four-person team are going to have to work this Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until at least midnight. Everyone on the team will be expected to work all day on Sunday. You know that it's going to be really important to have your team functioning at its highest and most cooperative level on Sunday if the work is going to be completed on time. In addition, the work that must be completed Saturday night takes a high degree of technical expertise. It is your job to decide who will work on Saturday night. Your choices are employees 1 or 2, who have the technical knowledge and ability necessary for the tasks that must be completed on Saturday night, neither of whom want to work because of other commitments; employee 3, who has the necessary technical knowledge and skills but who is completely unwilling to work on Saturday night; and employee 4, who has little of the necessary technical knowledge but who needs the money and very much wants to work on Saturday night. You have the budget and the need for one employee to work with you on Saturday night. Everyone must work on Sunday. As far as you are concerned, you don't really care what the conflicts and concerns of your subordinates may be. That isn't your problem! Your problem is to get the right person to do the job, and you intend to get the person you want, no matter what. You should listen to the concerns of your subordinates, but make clear from the outset that you'll decide, and they'll just have to live with your decision. Keep reinforcing that point whenever possible. Tell your group only that you are their manager; do not tell them that you have been instructed to be autocratic.

164

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT?

LAISSEZ-FAIRE MANAGER You are the laissez-faire manager in a division of Turnem, Inc. Currently, your team is working to complete development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry and to put the finishing touches on the presentation to be made on Monday to the highest officials of your aerospace program. In order to get the project done on time, you and one member of your four-person team are going to have to have to work this Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until at least midnight. Everyone on the team will be expected to work all day on Sunday. You know that it's going to be really important to have your team functioning at its highest and most cooperative level on Sunday if the work is going to be completed on time. In addition, the work that must be completed Saturday night takes a high degree of technical expertise. You don't much care who works on Saturday night, as long as someone does. One thing is for sure, you don't want to be responsible for making the decision. You have decided to let your employees make the decision, and you're going to stay out of it. Their choices are employees 1 or 2, who have the technical knowledge and ability necessary for the tasks that must be completed on Saturday night, neither of whom want to work because of other commitments; employee 3, who has the necessary technical knowledge and skills but who is completely unwilling to work on Saturday night; and employee 4, who has little of the necessary technical knowledge but who needs the money and very much wants to work on Saturday night. You have the budget and the need for only one employee to work with you on Saturday night. Everyone must work on Sunday. As far as you're concerned, you don't really care what the conflicts and concerns of your subordinates may be. That isn't your problem-it's theirs! You should listen to the concerns of your subordinates, but make clear from the beginning that you're not going to interfere. Of course, you will want to let them know from time to time that they're probably not making the right decision. Tell your group only that you are their manager; do not tell them that you have been instructed to be laissez faire.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT? DEMOCRATIC MANAGER

165

You are the democratic manager in a division of Turnem, Inc. Currently, your team is working to complete development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry and to put the finishing touches on the presentation to be made on Monday to the highest officials of your aerospace program. In order to get the project done on time, you and on member of your four-person team are going to have to work this Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until at least midnight. Everyone on the team will be expected to work all day on Sunday. You know that it's going to be really important to have your team functioning at its highest and most cooperative level on Sunday if the work is going to be completed on time. In addition, the work that must be completed Saturday night takes a high degree of technical expertise. It is your job to decide who will work on Saturday night. Your choices are employees 1 or 2, who have the technical knowledge and ability necessary for the tasks that must be completed on Saturday night, neither of whom want to work because of other commitments; employee 3, who has the necessary technical knowledge and skills but who is completely unwilling to work on Saturday night; and employee 4, who has little of the necessary technical knowledge but who needs the money and very much wants to work on Saturday night. You have the budget and the need for only one employee to work with you on Saturday night. Everyone must work on Sunday. Since the beginning of this project, you have been working closely with the members of your team, articulating the goals, guiding the process, serving as a clearing house, and involving the employees in decision-making processes that directly affect them. Begin by setting out the goals and purposes of having the best person work on Saturday night. Put this in terms of their best interests and the best interests of the organization. You should listen to the concerns of your subordinates and help them achieve an outcome that is mutually beneficial and acceptable. Tell your group only that you are their manager; do not tell them that you have been instructed to be democratic.

166

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT?

EMPLOYEE 1 You are a member of a four-person team at Turnem, Inc. The project on which you are working, development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry, is due to be demonstrated to the highest officials of the aerospace program on Monday. To be ready on time, it is necessary for you and your teammates to work all day this Sunday, and you may possibly have to work on Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until midnight. You are one of the key experts for this project on which you have worked seven day s a week for over a month. You consider that you have a special reason for not wanting to work on Saturday night. It's your brother's wedding, you are part of the wedding party, and your whole family will be outraged if you fail to attend. You have to convince your manager that you should not be required to work on Saturday night.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT? EMPLOYEE 2

167

You are a member of a four-person team at Turnem, Inc. The project on which you are working, development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry, is due to be demonstrated to the highest officials of the aerospace program on Monday. To be ready on time, it is necessary for you and your teammates to work all day this Sunday, and you may possibly have to work Sunday night from about 5 P.M. until midnight. You have been working on the project since its inception, including many nights and weekends. At this point you're feeling pretty burned out. Worse, however, is your family's reaction. Your spouse and children are angry at what they see as your rejection of them in favor of your job. Sunday is your spouse's birthday, and a number of friends and relatives have been invited to help celebrate the day at your home. Unfortunately, you don't have any choice about missing that event, but Saturday evening is your youngest child's debut as star in the third-grade play. Your family has made it quite clear that your presence is not an option. You have to convince your manager that you should not be required to work on Saturday night.

168

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT?

EMPLOYEE 3 You are a member of a four-person team at Turnem, Inc. The project on which you are working, development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry, is due to be demonstrated to the highest officials of the aerospace program on Monday. To be ready on time, it is necessary for you and your teammates to work all day this Sunday, and you may possibly have to work Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until midnight. You joined the project about two months ago, and while you're no expert, you certainly have the abilities and skills to do the work that must be done on Saturday night. However, you definitely do not want to work. As far as you are concerned, you're entitled to a life outside of the workplace, you're not much of a team player, and you had originally asked not to be put on this job anyway. There was a time in your life when you would have been at the head of the line to volunteer for this job-a time when your sole purpose in life was to get ahead, make more money, and gain power, prestige, and status. About eighteen months ago, your best friend died in a car accident. It was a shock to you to suddenly be faced with the uncertainty and fragility of life. You have decided that you had better live life while you have it, and that doesn't mean spending it at work. You're angry enough that you have to work on Sunday. As far as you're concerned, someone else can work on Saturday night, because you're not going to!

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups WHO WORKS SATURDAY NIGHT? EMPLOYEE 4

169

You are a member of a four-person team at Turnem, Inc. The project on which you are working, development of a prototype valve having a highly specialized use in the aerospace industry, is due to be demonstrated to the highest officials of the aerospace program on Monday. To be ready on time, it is necessary for you and your teammates to work all day this Sunday, and you may possibly have to work Saturday night from about 5 P.M. until midnight. You joined the team about five weeks ago and have some minimal knowledge of the project. You have been holding off taking a moonlighting job because this project, so far, has been keeping you busy seven days a week and evenings. While you're pretty tired, you desperately need the money. Your job is to convince your manager to let you work on Saturday night.

170

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

MBTI EXERCISE: Exercise Learning Objectives a. Demonstrate to the students that people make decisions using different styles. b. Students will experience a real-world situation they will face. c. Show students that regardless of their decision making process, they must be able to "sell" their decision to other people. Exercise Overview 1. Students should have taken the MBTI or the short version in Chapter 3. 2. Ask students to form groups into those that prefer thinking and those that prefer feeling as their decision making basis. 3. Students in like groups will work a scenario and then sell their decision to the opposite group type. 4. The instructor must be knowledgeable of the "T" and "F" dynamics of the MBTI. We highly recommend that the instructor review the material listed in the MBTI reference section. Additionally, the instructor should be on the look out for the potential of hurt feelings and bruised egos. This exercise usually takes 65-70 minutes. This is the single most powerful and potentially useful MBTI-based exercise in this series. Exercise Description: a. Form "T" and "F" groups of 4-6 students each. Form as many groups as you need so that everyone is in a group. b. Ask each group to select an observer. That person will observe a group of the opposite type; (i.e., "T" will observe "F" and vice-versa.). c. Give the following roles to students: Role You are a head nurse. You have been a head nurse over several others nurses for too long. You just don't have any interest supervising people anymore. It seems to cause you so much anxiety that you literally lose sleep at night when you go home. You would really love to get out of being in your current position. You have considered taking a demotion to a nurse's job until you retire. You would leave the hospital, but it is too close to retirement and will just cost you entirely too much to leave now. Your work is not super, but it has been satisfactory and you really don't think you can push yourself to do anymore. Satisfactory should be enough for what you get paid. Your boss has called you in for a talk.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups

171

Role You are the supervisor of a group of head nurses who manage other nurses. You are very concerned about one of your head nurses. Over the last couple of years, he has had low performance, failed to do many of the jobs assigned, and brings almost all decisions to committee meetings in order to avoid making decisions. You feel you must call him in for discussion. You are to the point of telling him that if he doesn't correct his performance you will have to terminate his employment since there is no position to which to demote him. You have called him in to talk over his performance. d. Give the students the following instructions: 1. You are to decide to fire or not to fire this employee. 2. You must develop a rationale for your decision. 3. You should select a person who will represent your group and your boss to support your decision. Your boss is of the opposite type from your T/F preference. 4. You will have 10 minutes to discuss the case and determine the facts. You have all the facts before you--nothing else is known. 5. You will then have 5 minutes to decide whether or not to fire this employee. 6. You will then have 15 minutes to develop the rationale that you will use to defend your position. 7. You will have 5 minutes to present your case to the other group who will collectively act as your boss. 8. After the first group is finished the bosses now must present their case. This is done BEFORE reporting out happens. e. If you have more than one group of each type, each group should present. You can run these presentations simultaneously if you use student observers to assist you in reporting what happened. f. Timing must be precise. Part of the benefit of this exercise is the time pressure. Most of the time, when we are under pressure we will subconsciously use our preferred strength to achieve the results we seek. As with other things, this holds true for our decision making process and its subsequent verbalization. To show the class the real distinctions between "T" and "F" we need to highlight the best use of the strength of each group. g. Debriefing the exercises. Debrief the second presentation first. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ask each boss if he/she agreed with the decision. What in the presentation led to your decision to agree or not? How did the presenter think/feel about the experience? What did the observers notice (if you used them)? What did the presenters learn?

h. Debrief the first presentation, using these same steps. i. Debrief the class. If you used observers, the observers first and then solicit feedback from the entire class.

172

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups 1. Ask the class, "What did you see?" 2. What differences and similarities did you notice?

What the instructor should expect: a. "Ts" want the decision to be stated up front and followed by the rationale for the decision. They want the facts stated clearly as to what the issues are, what steps have been taken, what have been the results of any interventions, and what will be the cost if your decision is implemented. "Ts" are concerned about getting sued if there is not a logical, rational approach that led to the decision. "Ts" will turn the employee problem into a management competency issue if they believe the situation should have been resolved earlier. b. "Fs" want to reassured that everything possible was done for the employee. For example, has the supervisor made training available, rotated jobs, counseled the employee, and so forth? The "Fs" also want to know that the person who is presenting really cares about this person--no phony affects here. They need to know the impact the decision (fire or not) will have on the other people in the organization. They are not as concerned about the effect on the organization as an entity as they are about the person and those people directly impacted. Finally, you will need to show "Fs" that the employee has violated the organization's values. Instructor's Summary Making decisions is something we all face. Most of the time, we have to "sell" our decisions to others. It is important to remember that some people make decisions based on objective logic while others make decisions based on subjective values. Neither process is inherently better; both have strengths and pitfalls. In an organization, asking people who use different decision making processes should result in a more complete and supportable decision. Materials Needed: None, students should have paper and pencil. *Adapted from Dr. Margaret Hartzler, Type Resources, Inc., used with permission.

Chapter 9: Decision Making by Individuals and Groups EXTRA EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISES

173

The following alternative exercises to supplement the material in the textbook can be obtained from: Marcic, Dorothy & Seltzer, Joe. Organizational Behavior: Experiences and Cases, 5th Ed. South Western College Publishing Company, 1998. Improving Organizational Decision Making. p. 217-221. Time: 30 minutes. Purpose: To explore a structure for organizational decision making. Fandt, Patricia M. Management Skills: Practice and Experience. West Publishing Company, 1994. In-Basket Exercise 1: Identifying Problems. p. 329. In-Basket Exercise 2: Generating Alternatives. p. 331. ROLE PLAYS Additional role plays relevant to the material in this chapter are located in Appendix A of this instructor's manual.