Group Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Process

This essay evaluates a systematic group problem-solving process, tools that can support the procedure, and the procedural model of problem-solving (P-MOPS). The challenge described in the scenario can be solved by following a methodical process. First, the committee should clearly outline the issue and evaluate it critically. The trouble is that the town does not have sufficient funds to hold the annual end-year festival. Second, they should brainstorm possible solutions and assess the viability of these solutions (Adams et al., 2021). Some solutions include: borrowing money from another town, redirecting some of the town’s other spending towards the festival, planning a smaller-scale party, and forfeiting this year’s annual party. Next, the members should discuss the solutions until they reach a consensus on the best one. They can achieve this by weighing possible benefits against negative outcomes. For instance, borrowing money will put the town in debt while foregoing the party will displease its population. They should then pitch this to the mayor since he established the committee. If he approves, the solution will be implemented and if otherwise, the committee has to restart the problem-solving exercise.

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The suggested approach is appropriate because it engages all members of the team. All persons have to participate in brainstorming, and the decision is reached only through accord. It shows members that their contribution is valued and is likely to increase participation. This method is also suitable because it considers the input of the person who mandated the group. This reduces resistance against the final solution and allows for any necessary corrective measures to be taken before implementation.

All problems have three common components: an undesirable situation, the desired goal, and obstacles between the two (Adams et al., 2021). In the given scenario, the unwanted situation is the possibility of not holding the party while the desired outcome is the opposite. The barriers between the two include inadequate financial resources, insufficient information, unavailability of group members due to difference in schedules, and limited personnel experience. Aside from identifying the problem, it is critical to pose a problem question. This is the central issue that the group must solve. It is imperative to outline this clearly because it steers the team, especially during the initial stages. When drafting this question, members should avoid problems that only give two options: yes/no and either/or. This is because such questions oversimplify the issue and could result in decision-making pitfalls. Additionally, the team should avoid suggesting solutions in the question since a problem statement aims to formulate the problem, not the answers. Finally, the group should phrase the question as concretely as possible. This ensures the issue is specific and helps in the articulation of solutions.

Problems share five common characteristics: task difficulty, solution multiplicity, intrinsic interests, member familiarity, and acceptance level (Adams et al., 2021). The first characteristic relates to the complexity of the issue. Difficult tasks are usually more complex and, therefore, require more resources to solve. The second feature is concerned with the number of possible ways to solve the problem, while the third pertains to the group members’ level of interest in the task. Next, member familiarity refers to the knowledge and experience the members have in tackling such a problem. The final attribute is concerned with how well a solution will be received by those it impacts. Some modifications can be made to accommodate the specific scenario presented. First, since the task is relatively complex, the committee should formulate a detailed implementation plan. Additionally, they should generate ideas by brainstorming because the issue has a high multiplicity. To adapt to low familiarity member familiarity, the members can consult outside experts. Finally, they can ensure that their solution will be accepted by anticipating potential problems and taking remedial measures.

The group problem-solving procedure can be facilitated by technology. For example, email and instant message (IM) facilitate collaboration over text. Technology such as Dropbox and Google Docs allows all members to create, share, and edit a single document from different places (Krawczyk-Bryłka, 2017). Others such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Slack can be used to hold virtual meetings. A team can also use a group support system (GSS), which are tools created to improve group problem-solving. For instance, such tools support idea generation, data organization, record keeping, and decision making (Adams et al., 2021). When used with other media, GSS improves the quality and timeliness of group problem-solving.

The procedural model of problem-solving (P-MOPS) follows five fundamental steps. The first step involves defining and analyzing the problem. Here, a problem statement is formulated and the causes of the issue evaluated. The second step of the problem-solving process entails developing potential solutions for the problem, which can be accomplished through brainstorming. In the third step, the answers are assessed to determine their feasibility. A solution’s viability is based on various factors, including whether it is economical, practical, and efficient. The benefits are weighed against the negative impacts to determine whether it is the best course of action. The fourth step of the problem-solving process involves choosing the most appropriate decision. This can be done based on consensus, popular vote, or using complex decision-making tools (Adams et al., 2021). In the final stage of the model, the chosen solution is implemented. This can be done immediately or by following a timeline that depends on deadlines. From the analysis, P-MOPS is an efficient tool that supports systematic group problem-solving.

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References

Adams, K. L., Galanes, G., & Hoelscher, C. S. (2021).Group problem-solving procedures. In Communicating in groups: Applications and skills (11th ed.). McGraw-hill.

Krawczyk-Bryłka, B. (2017). Comparative study of traditional and virtual teams. Task Quarterly, 21(3), 233-245.

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