Why is it so difficult to make good decisions in groups? We know that the benefits of group decision-making are substantial: better thinking, more viable and sustainable action plans, a stronger sense of ownership for achieving a desired outcome. In fact, when done properly, group decision-making may be our best hope for solving difficult, complex issues. Unfortunately, group discussions often result in decisions that lack imagination, thoughtful consideration, or inclusiveness.
So why do smart, well-intentioned people often struggle with making good decisions in groups? According to Sam Kaner, author of Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, “the answer is deeply rooted in prevailing cultural values that make it difficult for people to actually think in groups.” Kaner explains that some of the obstacles to productive group interactions include a lack of good listening skills, a strong need to move to action without adequate consideration or discussion, and treating a difference of opinion as conflict that must be “stifled or solved.”
Read the complete story on the OSU Extension CD Blog.
Becky Nesbitt is an Assistant Professor and Extension Educator in Community Development with OSU Extension.