January 21, 2017

Understanding group decision making failure and success

Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter

Groupthink was a term coined by Irving James that explains how groups may tend toward uniformity and censorship. This is not an easy hypothesis to demonstrate. Conditions and environment may affect, randomised trials difficult to apply. But Hastie and Sunstein tried to answer two questions in a book:
  • Do groups usually correct individual mistakes? Our simple answer is that they do not. Far too often, groups actually amplify those mistake
  • But do groups actually succeed in surpassing the quality of the few best? Do they, in fact, combine information and enlarge the range of arguments? Do firms accomplish this feat? Do government officials? Unfortunately, the history of the human species suggests that all too often, groups fail to live up to their potential. On the contrary, many groups turn out to be foolish
The book has basically two chapters, how groups succeeds and how groups fail. Sounds interesting to know the details. I am unable to describe the whole details in a post.
there are sound messages for the role of leaders, and specailly a conclusion:
The failures of groups often have disastrous consequences—not just for group members, but for all those who are affected by those failures. The good news is that decades of empirical work, alongside recent innovations, offer a toolbox of practical safeguards, correctives, and enhancements. With a few identifiable steps, groups can get a lot wiser.
The toolbox refers to behavioral science (Kahneman and Tversky).Unfortunately, my impression is that too few people has read this book up to now.