CH 7 Team decision making- pitfalls and solutions
1. Decision making is an integrated sequence of activities
-gathering, interpreting and exchanging information
-creating and identifying alternative courses of action
-choosing among alternatives by integrating differing perspectives
-opinion of team members
-implementing a choice and monitoring the consequence
2. Individual decision making biases
A spread disease in US, two plans were suggested
Plan A: if adopted, 200 people will be saved
Plan B: if adopted, 1/3 probability that all people will be saved, but 2/3 probability that
no one will be saved.
Many people chose plan A, then another 2 plan is suggested
Plan C: if adopted, 400 people will die
Plan D: if adopted, 1/3 probability that no one will die, and 2/3 probability all people
When the identical problem with the same options worded differently, more people
will chose the risky plan D.
*This inconsistency is a preference reversal and reveals the framing effect. Almost
any decision can be reframed as a gain or a loss relative to sth. Decision makers’ reference points for defining gain and loss are often arbitrary.
In the team, overconfidence leads people less to focus on their teammates’ strength,
as opposed to their weaknesses and neglect the strength and weakness of members
of competitor teams.
It is a tendency for people to consider evidence that support their position,
hypothesis or desire and disagree or discount evidence that against their belief.
3. Individual VS group decision making in demonstrable tasks
It is a task that has an obvious, correct answer.
Group performs better than independent individuals on a wide range of
demonstrable task. And group who use a structured approach for making decision
perform better than those without structure. People who have experience solving
demonstrable problems in a group are able to transfer their performance to individual
tasks. And people who participate in group discussion are more accurate.
*However, groups are much more overconfident than individuals, regardless of their
actual accuracy. And groups are also more likely to exacerbate some of the short
comings displayed by individuals, namely, group are more likely than individuals to
neglect case specific information and ignore base rate information.
-Group decision rules Given the pervasiveness of group decision making, teams need a method by which
to combine individuals’ decision to a yield a group decision.
The objective of decision rules may differ, such as finding the alternative that the
greatest number of team members prefer, the alternative the fewest members object
to, the choice they maximizes team welfare. Thus, groups are well served in using
majority or plurality voting in truth-seeking group decision. But they avoid majority
rule when given a choice.
The most common decision rule is majority rule, use it as a decision heuristic
because of its ease and familiarity. But it contains several problems:
-it will ignore issue counts only as much as the vote of a person who is virtually
different. It may not promote creative trade off among issues.
-it may also encourage the formation if coalitions, or subgroups within a team. A
coalition is a group of two or more members who join together to affect the outcome
of a decision involving at least three parties.
* Although unanimous decision making is time consuming, it encourages team
members to consider creative alternatives to satisfy the interest of all members.
Teams required to reach consensus have great accuracy than those that are not.
5 decision making pitfalls
-Group think 是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是 是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是是
It occurs when team members place consensus above all other priorities-including
using good judgment when the consensus reflects poor judgment or improper or
The cause of group think may come from group pressures to conform or a sincere
desire to incorporate and reflect the views of all team members. Conformity pressure
can lead decision makers to censor to misgivings, ignore outside information, feel too confident, and adopt an attitude of invulnerability.
-symptoms of group think
It cannot easy to observe from the outsiders, it more present private feelings or
beliefs held by group members or behaviors performed in private.
Overestimation of the group: members of the group regard themselves as
invulnerable and, at the same time, morally correct. This lethal combination can lead
decision makers to believe they are exempt from standards.
Close mindedness: members of the group engage in collective rationalization, often
accompanied by stereotyping out group members, teams that develop norms of
open mindedness create, more knowledge.
Pressure toward uniformity: there is a strong intolerance in a groupthink situation
for diversity of opinion. Dissenters are subject to enormous social pressure. This
often leads group members to suppress their reservations.
-The following behaviors are obstacles of rational decision making:
Incomplete survey of alternatives
• Incomplete survey of objectives
• Failure to reexamine alternatives
Failure to examine preferred choices
• Selection bias
• Poor information search • Failure to create contingency plans
1.Monitor team size
Larger teams are more likely to fall prey to groupthink. Teams with more than 10
members may feel less personal responsibility for team decision making.
2.Provide face-saving mechanism for teams
A small team often concerned with how their decision will be viewed by others, so
they actually did not make effective decisions. Many teams are afraid of being
blamed for poor decisions, even the decisions for which it would have been
impossible to predict the outcome.
Face-saving concerns prevent people from changing course, even when the current
courses are doubtful. Teams that are given an excuse for poor performance before
knowing the outcome of their decision are less likely to succumb to groupthink than
teams that donot have an excuse.
It is a structured discussion situation designed to reduce group members’ fears about
making decisions. Since the discussion is structured, so the team members talk
about the dangers or risks involved in a decision and delay decision of potential
gains. The goal is to create an atmosphere in which team members can express
doubts and raises criticisms without fear or rejection or hostility fro the team.
-the facilitator play the role of devil’s advocate for a particular decision. The mere
expression of doubt about an idea or plan by one person may liberate others to raise doubts and concerns.
-to have members privately convey their concerns or doubts and then post this
information in an unidentifiable manner. This will liberate members to talk about their
4.Invite different perspectives
Team members assume the perspective of other constituencies with a stake in the
decision. The key point of adopting different perspectives is to create a mechanism
that will instigate thinking more carefully about problems, which could prompt these
groups to reconsider evidence. And the managers should not say the member
“screw up”, it is better to say “we have a problem”.
5.Appoint a devil’s advocate
The subordinate donot want to challenge the managers’ belief, so they keep silent
even they know the manager made a wrong decision. In this sense, some teams
institute a special “devil’s advocate” responsibility to members of the team.
Whereas a devil’s advocate procedure can be effective, it is contrived 是是是 dissent. It
is better for a team to have genuine dissent
5. Structure discussion principle
The goal is to delay solution selection and to increase the problem solving phase. It
can prevent premature closure on a solution and extends problem analysis and
Teams may be given guidelines that emphasize continued solicitations of solutions, protection of individuals from criticism, keeping the discussion problem centered and
listing all solutions before evaluating them.
6.Establish procedures for protecting alternative viewpoints
Instruct members to record all alternatives suggested during each meeting. it is
difficult when conformity pressure exists and when team members have publicly
committed to a particular course if action.
it requires teams to identify a second solution or decision recommendation as an
alternative to their first choice. This enhances the problem solving and idea
generation phases, as well as performance quality.
8.Beware of time pressure
It acts as a stressor on teams, and stress impairs the effectiveness of team decision
making. Moral principles are more likely to guide decisions for the distant future than
for the immediate future, whereas difficulty, cost. Situational pressures are more
likely to be important in near future decision.
- Escalation of Commitment
Under some conditions, teams will persist with a losing course of action, even in fact
of clear evidence to the contrary.
A senior marketing manager at a major pet food corporation continued to promote a specific brand, despite clear evidence that the brand was losing market share to its
This situation becomes an escalation dilemma when the persons involved in the
decision would make a different decision if they had not been involved up until that
point, or when other objective persons would not choose that course of action.
In escalation situations, a decision is made to commit further resources to “turn the
situation around”. This process may repeat and escalate several times as additional
resources are invested. The bigger the investment and the more severe the possible
loss, the more prone people are to try to turn things around.
-4 key process involved in the escalation of commitment
1. Project determinants
It is an objective feature of the situation. Upon receiving negative feedback, team
members ask whether the perceived setback is permanent or temporary. Teams
should consider whether to increase the investment in the project or commit more
time and energy. But it is hard for the team to terminate that course of action if
results continue to be poor.
It refers to the cognitive and motivational factors that propel people to continue with a
chosen course of action. Managers should consider two questions when they
learned that the outcome of the project may be negative.
-what are the personal rewards for me in this project? People with high self esteem are more likely to become victim of the psychological
forces. They have more invested in ther ego and its maintenance than those with low
-Are my ego and the team’s reputation on the line?
Ego protection becomes a higher priority than the success of the project. When
managers feel personally responsible for a decision, monetary allocations to the
project increase at a much higher rate than when managers do not feel responsible
for the initial decision.
Most people want others to approve of them, accept them and respect them. So they
engage in actions and behaviors that they think will please most of the people most
of the time, perhaps at the expense of doing the right thing, which may not be
The need for approval and liking may be especially heightened among groups
composed of friends. Friends are more likely to continue investing the losing course
The greater the group’s sense of social identity, the mire likely the group is to
escalation commitment to an unreasonable course of action.
A project can itself become institutionalized, removing it from critical evaluation. It
becomes impossible for teams to consider removal or extinction of the project.
Political support can also keep a project alive that should be terminated. -Avoiding escalation of commitment to a losing course of action
Determine the criteria and performance standards justify continued investment in the
project or program in question.
2.Avoid the bystander effect
In the ambiguous situation, people are not sure how to behave and do nothing,
because they donot want to appear foolish. If members have well defined,
predetermined limits, they need not try to interpret others’ behavior, they can refer
own judgement and act upon it.
3.Avoid tunnel vision
Get several perspectives on the problem. Ask people not involved in the situation.
But not to biases their evaluation with your own.
4.Recognize sunk costs
Sunk cost are resources, such as money and time, previously invested that cannot
5.Avoid bad mood
People may choose high risk option when they are upset.
Sometimes, it is necessary to remove or replace original decision makers from
deliberations precisely because they are biased. External review is suggested.
- Abilene Paradox
It will result from group members’ desire to avoid conflict and reach consensus at all
cost. The Abilene Paradox is a form of pluralistic ignorance, group members adopt a position because they feel other members desire it, team members donot challenge
one another because that want to avoid conflict or achieve consensus.
-Key Causes of Self-Limiting Behavior in Teams(factors lead to Abilene
paradox, individual members feel their point is not worthwhile, so they give up
• Presence of someone with expertise
Presentation of a compelling argument
• Lack of confidence in one’s ability to contribute
• Unimportant or meaningless decision
• Pressure from others to conform to team’s decision
• Dysfunctional decision-making climate
- Avoiding the Abilene Paradox
• Confront the issue in a team setting(involve key members in the problem and
• Conduct a private vote
• Minimize status differences(high status and low status member)
• Frame task as a decision to be made
• Provide formal forum for controversial views(segmenting the discussion into
pros and cons, members are encouraged to get involved.)
• Take responsibility for failure (create a climate in which teams can make
mistake.) - Group Polarization
• Risky shift( 是是是是是是是是是是是是)是是是是是,
• Cautious shift( 是是是是是是是是是是是是,是是是是是是是是是是是)是是是是是是是是是是是
- Two psychological explanations
• The need to be right
• The need to be liked
• Conformity pressures 是是是是
- Unethical Decision Making
Rational Expectations model (people are fundamentally motivated to
maximize their own utility, which has become equivalent to maximizing
• Pluralistic ignorance (it is a belief that everyone else knows or believes
sth that we donot know. And “everyone else is doing it”)
• Desensitization (when people first crosses the line a appropriate
behavior, they are sensitized. After the line is crossed, that person is
desensitized and the normal system of internal checks and balances
is turned off.) - How to Remedy or Prevent Unethical Decision Making
Accountability for behavior
Accountability is the implicit expectation that one may be called on to justify one’s
beliefs, feelings and actions to others. It implies that people who do not provide a
satisfactory justification for their action will suffer negative consequences.
• Reward model
Appropriate role models
• Eliminate conflicts of interest
• Create cultures of integrity
Ch8 Conflict in teams
1.3 types of conflict
-Relationship conflict (emotional conflict, A-type conflict, affective conflict)
Involves disagreements based on personal and social issues that are not related to
-Task conflict (cognitive conflict, C-type conflict)
It involves disagreements about the work that is being done in group, including
argument about the merits of ideas, plans and projects. In some cases, it can be
effective in stimulating creativity because it forces people to rethink problems and
arrive at outcomes that everyone can live with.
-Process conflict It centers on task strategy and delegation of duties and resources. And
disagreements that team members have about how to approach a task and who
should do what. Also involves disagreement among team members as to how to
achieve a goal.
2. Best practice for management conflict in team
The most effective team shares several common practices when it come to conflict
and conflict management. They realize that conflict is an inevitable aspect of high
performance teamwork. And they deal with conflict proactively; develop procedures
and practices to deal with it before it emerges.
And they focus on behaviors rather than traits. Groups that improve or maintain top
performance over time share 3 conflict resolution best practice:
-they focus on the content of their interactions, rather than the deliver style (tone)
-they explicitly discuss resources behind work assignment decision
-they assign work to members who have the task expertise rather than by other
means, such as volunteerism or convenience.
3.Real conflict VS symbolic conflict
Economic issues, such as pay and remuneration, the size of office space and staff.
Differing beliefs, quality VS quantity, meritocracy VS equal opportunity
-Egocentric bias and Scare resource competition
Teams experience economic conflicts are competing over scarce resource, most people feel entitled to more resources than others believe they merit. Their own
fairness is egocentrically biased.
4.Conflict management approaches
-According to Blake and Mouton, people can take at least five course of action when
they find themselves involved in conflict. The five choices differ depending upon the
extent to which people are concerned for themselves and the other party.
-A contingency theory of task conflict and performance in teams
It views team performance as a function of the type of task conflict, the conflict
management style, and the nature of the task performed by the group.
-the amount of conflict is direct determinant of team performance and individual well-
being (individual satisfaction). Individual well being exerts a powerful effect on how
people deal with conflict.
-another determinant of team performance is the approach that team members use
to manage conflict. Member may use collaborate (interest-based) style of conflict
management, such as “constructive controversy” are more beneficial for team
management. Or contending with each other by using the following,
Rights based argument: focus on applying some standard of fairness, precedent,
contract or law.
Power-based argument: is characterized by the use of force, intimidation, rank or
Avoidance is yet another option for team members.
Interest-based approach: it focus on satisfying both parties’ core interests, when people set aside questions of right and wrong, they can sometimes crafts terms that
meet their most important interests, but usually not all of them.
*in the model, the types of conflict may be either the content of the task or the
process of the task.
Task content conflict: it is the disagreement among team members’ ideas and
opinions about the task being performed.
Task process conflict: it is conflict about logistical and delegation issues, such as
how to proceed and allocate work.
5.Wageman and Donnenfelds’ conflict intervention model
-4 interventions that team leaders and managers can use to improve the quality of
conflict resolution process
Deliberate changes in the structure (environment or task) in which teams do their
work. Interventions may include increasing the amount of task interdependence that
a team has in accomplishing a given work product. It may including how the goal is
defined, who is on the team, the nature and amount of resources allocated to the
team and norm of conduct.
One important aspect of team design is the stated goal of the team. Teams that
agree on a common goal or shared vision are more successful than those that donot
or cannot. Common goal donot imply homogeneous thinking, but they do require
everyone to share a vision.
2.task process coaching
Coaching can help the team perform better via changes in effort, strategy and talent.
It is aimed exclusively at improving motivation, strategy and talent nut not conflict per se. it includes member’s skills, improving the communication system and so on.
After the team is well designed, the team leader should use the strategy of coaching
the team. It can work well only the team is well desgined.
3.conflict process coaching
Direct intervention in a team to improve the quality of conflict the team is having. It
may include trust building exercise, structured debate and appointing a devil’s
It may engender resistance relative to discussions about motivation strategy, or
leveraging talent in the team. It also important to focus on the content rather than
style, focus on the substance rather than delivery
4.changing the individual
Individual level training with the goal of making specific team members more
tolerant, thoughtful and capable when they disagree with others. This may involve
behavioral training in negotiation.
But it will have greatest impact only after the team design and team processes are
addressed. People have better chance of changing when the team design is optimal
and the core team process are positive, thereby serving to reinforce individual
5.Norms of fairness
Many conflicts in teams emerge because people feel misunderstood or ignored,
people want to be understood and heard.
• Equity method (or contribution-based distribution): prescribes that
benefits and costs should be proportional to team members’ contributions. • Equality method (or blind justice): prescribes that all team members should
suffer or benefits equally, regardless of input.
• Need method (or welfare-based justice): prescribes that benefits and costs
should be proportional to members’ needs
Egocentric judgment influence which norm of fairness is preferred: Members who
contribute less prefer to divide resources equally, whereas who contribute more
prefer the equity rule.
6.Minority(subgroup in the team) and Majority conflict in groups
-influence (2 ways)
When they entice other team members to adopt their position.
People in majority privately agree with the minority
*when people change their attitude and behavior as a result of direct influence or
pressure, this is referred to as compliance 顺顺
When people change their attitudes and behavior as a result of their own thinking
about a subject, this is known as conversion. It may occur at a latent level and have
a delayed impact, such as when change occurs later, known as sleeper effect.
Conversion is more stable form of attitude change because a person changes
inwardly, not just outwardly, to please others.
Minority induce conversion, Majorities induce compliance. -benefits of minority influence
It stimulates greater thought about issues. When minorities in a group express a
differing opinion, the general level of cognitive activity in the group increases and
groups members engage in more message scrutiny.
They stimulate much broader thinking about the issue in general and open the doors
to considering multiple perspectives and divergent thinking.
Courage hypothesis: people who persist in the face of hardship and ridicule are
viewed as particularly sincere, confident and courageous, given that they are willing
to risk social censure.
7.Cross functional teams and conflict
Cross functional teams are deliberately constructed to be diverse at the deeper level.
It composed people from multiple disciplines, functions and divisions who have
relevant but different expertise
It focuses on the role of representational gaps. A team has large representational
gaps has inconsistent views about the definition of the team’s problem or task. In this
sense, members have different mental models about the task.
CH 9 Creativity
-creativity or ideation
Is the production of novel and useful ideas, the ability to form new concepts using
existing knowledge. A creative act is original and valuable.
Is the realization of novel and useful ideas in the form of products and services. -Structural connectedness
Ideas that work with existing products and services are high in structural
Ideas that cannot work with existing products and services are low in structural
It distinguishes ideas that are realistic (connected to current and knowledge) from
ideas that are realistic (disconnected from current knowledge).
The most desirable ideas are creative realism. It represents ideas that are highly
traditional and highly connected to current knowledge and practices. This creates
little ambiguity and little uncertainty.
*The key is to encourage team members to generate ideas in all the quadrants.
-3 indices of evaluating the creativity of team’s ideas.
It is a simple measure of how many ideas a person or team generates.
Brainstorming, quantity breed quality.
It is a measure of how many types of ideas a person or team generate.The higher
the number of categories of idea that are generated the more likely that you will
come up with a creative, original realistic idea. There is a strong relationship
between the quantity, of ideas and with the ability to generate creative and realistic
3.originality It is the ability to generate unusual solutions and unique answers to problems.
1.Convergent thinking 顺顺顺顺
Thinking that proceeds towards a single answer. Groups excel compared with
individuals and good at judging ideas.
This suggest that an effective team design for promoting creativity involves
separating the generation of ideas, leaving this to individual team members and then
evaluating and discussing the idea as a team.
2.Divergent thinking 顺顺顺顺
Thinking that moves outward from a central point. It is conditions for success, best
done by individual alone. Teams less proficient due to group think.
It refers to activities such as search, variation, risk taking, experimentation, play,
flexibility, discovery and innovation.
It refers to refinement, choice, production, efficiency, selection, implementation and
execution of an idea.
-rules for brainstorming
• Expressiveness: group members should express any idea that comes to
mind, no matter how strange. They are encouraged not to be constrained or
timid, they should freewheel whenever possible. • Non-evaluation: do not criticize ideas. Group members should not evaluate
any of the ideas in any way during the generation phase; all ideas should be
Quantity: generate as many ideas as possible, focus on quantity of ideas. It
will increase the probability of finding excellent solutions.
Building: all the ideas belong to the group, members should try to modifying
and extend the ideas suggested by other members whenever possible.
Ideas generate by one person in a team could stimulate ideas in other people in a
Members would make mutual associations upon hearing the ideas presented by
*However, the research showed that the solitary brainstorming (same number
of people working independently) are more productive and efficient in
laboratory and orgnal settings, compare to face to face brainstorming group.
-Threats to Team Creativity
Social loafing: it is a tendency for people to slack off, not work as hard in a
group as they would alone.
Conformity: it occurs when people concerned that others in the group will be
critical of their suggestions, despite instructions designed to minimize such
• Production blocking: it occurs when group members cannot express their
ideas because others are presenting their ideas. It is a coordination problem,
a person who working alone can enjoy an uninterrupted flow of thought. People may forget their ideas or decide not to present them during the waiting
• Performance matching: the performance of people working within a group
tends to converge over time. Social comparison process may lead team
members to conve