The Challenges of Group Decision Making: Worldview Interviews Lindred Greer

Lindred Greer, Assistant Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in Worldview's Science of Decision Making course
© 2014 Worldview Stanford, The Science of Decision Making

Lindred Greer, assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, explains why groups have such a hard time making decisions.

This is the second in a series of posts showcasing original content from Worldview Stanford’s unique, online and on-campus course on The Science of Decision Making. View the first post here – How the Brain Decides: An Animated Introduction.


Here’s a surprising fact about group decision-making:

80% of participation is done by 20% of the members in a group.

That means that even if you’ve assembled a team of your ten best and brightest employees with a range of skills and expertise, only two dominant people will dictate the decision.

Perhaps this doesn’t surprise you at all. Since middle school we’ve all been part of teams that ranged from dysfunctional to extraordinary – and undoubtedly we’ve played and observed different dynamics and roles that emerge: the overachieving control freak who takes on every task, suspecting that others are incompetent; the minimalist who only does what is assigned and nothing more; the slacker, who sits back and lets everyone else do all the work, but is happy to share the credit. We’ve all experienced this – but why does it happen? And what if you throw conflict into the equation?

Lindred Greer, an Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, can cite several reasons why group decision-making is so difficult. In this Worldview Interviews video, she describes which kinds of conflicts hold us back and when conflict can actually help groups do better.

So what can we do to avoid these pitfalls and make better group decisions? Learn from Dr. Greer’s follow-up and dozens of other videos, podcasts and articles featuring Stanford faculty by applying for The Science of Decision Making now!

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