Decision-making in Groups - Case Study Example

3 pages
646 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Case study
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Is consensus a good way for groups to make decisions? Why or why not?

A consensus is a right way for groups to make decisions. Importantly, a group is characterized by the ability to communicate with each other and to perform its functions collectively. It means that each member of a team should have a say in the goings on; including voicing their opinions in times of crisis. In the same light, when faced with alternatives, collective decision-making is the way to go (Hartnett, 2011). The members of a team make contributions whose magnitudes match the effects of these decisions. As such, consensus encourages individuals to steer clear of selfish thoughts and instead consider the immediate impact of their actions. The advantages of consensus in decision-making include the equitable distribution of power within a group, ownership, and adequate representation. The last edge is mainly utilitarian in cases where there is a vast category of stakeholders, and each intends to be satisfied by an outcome (Hartnett, 2011).

Can you think of a time where a group of which you were part relied on consensus? How do you think the decision turned out?

In my freshman year, one of my professors missed some hours of his lectures consequently compelling him to ask for extra hours so that he could recover for the lost time. It was difficult to agree on the ideal place and time to schedule the lecture since he was occupied during the times that we were available. Additionally, it would have been indiscreet to make him cancel on other classes to recover for our lost time. One student suggested that the make-up class be scheduled on a Saturday since according to the universitys timetable no classes were scheduled to take place on any Saturday. While some of my classmates were for the suggestion, others bitterly disagreed. The latter minority group indicated that Saturday was a day of worship and that conducting classes would infringe on their right to and freedom of religion. After much deliberation, it was determined that it would be prudent to accord the professor an extra thirty minutes during every lecture as opposed to having a make-up class.

The case herein describes a situation that called for consensus in the decision-making process. The contrivance would have been to conduct a poll to determine the majority; intrinsically ruling in the majority's favor. However, such a move would have created a sharp division among my classmates with the minority feeling disrespected and unappreciated in the class. Additionally, if the minority boycotted the course, then they would have lost out on vital information that would have been taught while they were in their places of worship. The verdict, therefore, considered the best interest of the whole and fostered a peaceful coexistence among my classmates.

Martin Luther King Jr. once proclaimed, A genuine leader is not a seeker of consensus but a modeler of consensus.

What do you think he meant by that statement? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

The statement by Martin Luther King Jr. emphasizes that a good leader is innovative. They create new ideas, opportunities, and environments without necessarily waiting for a situation to provoke a decision. Accordingly, leaders are expected to create an atmosphere that encourages all participants to engage in the decision-making process naturally. Modelers of consensus judiciously resolve their followers interests.

I agree with this statement since it is sensible for a leader not to force their team into agreeing with their decisions as is the case of a seeker of consensus. One that allows their team to think freely emboldens people to think freely and come up with productive resolutions (Hartnett, 2011). A modeler of consensus is an ideal leader in the harmonization of the workplace environment.



Hartnett, T. (2011). Consensus-oriented decision-making: The CODM model for facilitating groups to widespread agreement. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

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