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Introduction

Decision making is a complex process that involves giving consideration to numerous factors and perspectives. If decision making as an individual action is difficult enough, it is all the more complicated when performed by a group. In our group, the four members Aleksandar Burneski (110064964), Rocco Guiducci (110065658), Kuir Alaak (100044490) and I Mossab Aljamdi (110079132) have different personality types and character traits. Hence we bring a wide range of inputs to the process of decision making. Two features of our deliberations are conflict and conciliation. Conflict is inevitable in any group interaction, but we make sure that it is constructive and instructive. What we strive as a group is to talk, deliberate, analyse and eventually concur on our decisions. The objective of our project was to compile a report on End User Development (EUD), which is a buzzing concept in the world of Information Technology. Numerous decisions were taken at various stages of the project. This reflection will touch upon salient features of our group decision making process. My views are informed by theory and practical knowledge that I learnt through various key texts during the course.

Decision Style Effects on Group Decision Making

Scholar Efraim Turban denotes a list of guiding principles that comprise a decision modelling. These are “1.Will analytics solve the problem? 2.Can an existing solution be leveraged? 3. Is a tool needed?” (Turban, p.39) Although these guiding questions were offered in the context of an Information Technology company, Hewlett- Packard, their essence can be extrapolated to any situation. So our group adopted this framework in our decision making process. But this framework does not work in isolation from our individual personalities. For example, Aleksandar is someone who uses a Behavioral decision making style which comes naturally to him. Rocco and Kuir’s approach to decisions tend to fall under the Directive type. I think of my style as Analytical with due modesty. Hence, conflict is an expected feature of our discussions. Actually, this diversity of styles creates a vibrant atmosphere during the discussions. Though we have set individual styles, our group members are also good listeners. Aleksandar, Rocco and Kuir lend their ear to what I have to say and correct me if I’ve made a logical or factual error. So what is evident in our group dynamics is a constant flux of inputs and outputs. Just as each member gives his inputs, each in turn receives an evaluation of their views through others’ responses. I would claim on behalf of my group that it is an enjoyable process overall.

Personality Type Effects on Group Decision Making

Analytical individuals like me enjoy problem solving and enjoy a good challenge. Fair to say, the challenging nature of our project actually served as a motivation for me. People of my type enjoy data crunching and rigorous analysis. I am happy to state that the project in question provided me satisfaction on both counts. I also enjoy written communication, which is why I took to the task of compiling this report with enthusiasm. My strengths suitably complement what Aleksandar, Rocco and Kuir have to offer. Aleksandar falls under the Behavioural type, which means he is a good team player and very sociable. He negotiates differences through skilful and polite persuasion than aggression. In fact, Aleksandar is the great pacifier in our meetings. We love him for it. Rocco and Kuir are the Directive types. They are very focussed on getting things done and can be a little aggressive at times. But they are valuable for the group for the technical knowledge they bring to the project. To give an anatomical analogy, Rocco and Kuir would form the muscles and bones whereas Aleksandar would be the heart of our group. I myself, again with due modesty, would be its brain.

Team Development and its effect on Group Decision Making

Team size is a factor that bears upon group dynamics. Our team of 4 members is relatively small and that helps in creating strong bonds between members. Aleksandar, Rocco, Kuir and I are not only classmates but also good friends. This helps create an atmosphere of camaraderie during our discussion. The odd personal jibe or a practical joke lightens the burden of our projects. Speier et. al. have brought new understanding to group dynamics. Their work on ‘interruptions’ reveal that for cognitively simpler and space-oriented tasks interruptions do not have a negative effect. On the other hand, for complex tasks interruptions prove to be a hindrance. Our group project is neither too simple nor too complex. Hence it is fair to assume that on the whole interruptions will slightly undermine our work. But thanks to a strong team ethic that we’ve built over the course, the numbers of interruptions were minimal. If I was giving a presentation to the group, Aleksandar, Rocco and Kuir would carefully pay attention to what I have to say. They would raise their questions at the end of the presentation. I would return the favour during their presentations.

Future Improvements

I am fairly happy with how our group has performed its coordinative tasks. However, there are areas for improvement also. While our communication skill in the conventional sense is quite solid, we do lag in terms of English language proficiency. This is an area all four of us must improve, for we all recognize how language is the vehicle for thoughts and expressing ideas. Even the best co-ordinated of our efforts will only be as good as our language level allows it to be expressed. Other areas where our team can do better are planning and organization. At times during the project we found ourselves acting and taking decisions in an ad-hoc manner. It betrayed a lack of professionalism in our approach. This we want to remedy in upcoming group activities.

References:

Turban, Efraim, Decision Making, Systems, Modeling, and Support, Chapter 2, Decision support and business intelligence systems, pp. 38-69. Boston : Prentice Hall, c2011.

Cheri Speier, Iris Vessey, Joseph S. Valacich. The Effects of Interruptions, Task Complexity, and Information Presentation on Computer-Supported Decision-Making Performance, Decision Sciences, Volume 34 Number 4, Fall 2003.

Bazerman, Max H. & Moore, Don A., Judgment in managerial decision making, Ch. 11, pp. 179-199, Improving decision making, Hoboken, NJ : J. Wiley & Sons, c2009.

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