Group Decision Making Theories

Decision Emergence Theory (DET)
Research indicates that groups tend to go through a variety of phases in accomplishing a group task.  There are various phase or stage theories and models of group decision making.  One popular approach is B, Aubrey Fisher's Decision Emergence Theory.

DET proposes that decisions emerge from group members’ verbal interaction:

Decision Emergence Theory (DET) consists of four phases: DET Phase 1: Orientation DET Phase 2: Conflict DET Phase 3: Emergence DET Phase 4: Reinforcement

Group Think
(Chapter 18; developed by Irving Janis)

Symptoms of groupthink
1) An illusion of invulnerability makes group members believe that they cannot fail.
2) A belief in the inherent morality of the group makes  members automatically assume the rightness of
    their cause.
3) Collective rationalization creates an unquestioning atmosphere.
4) Out-group stereotypes cause group members to disregard outsiders
5) Self-censorship eliminates the expression of disagreement.
6) The illusion of unanimity develops from a lack of counterarguments.
7) Direct pressure is exerted on dissenters.
8) Self-appointed mindguards protect a leader from troublesome ideas.


Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making
(Chapter 19; developed by Hirokawa & Gouran)

An Effective Decision-Making Path from a Functional Perspective

Types of communication in decision-making groups Is Rationality Overrated?
“As a result, many communication scholars endorse the theory (Hirokawa & Gouran) as a model for group discussion and decision making.  But the exclusive focus on rational talk in this model may be the reason why researchers get mixed results when they test the theory’s predictions” (Griffin, 1997, p.257).