Advantages and Disadvantages of Team Decision Making
Self-managing work teams are being formed in business organizations that want to achieve greater flexibility, empower employees in making decisions, and maximize the use of their employees' intellectual and creative abilities (Wageman, 1997). These work groups are seen as having the capacity to improve, often quite significantly, organizational performance, learning and adaptability. They are also viewed as strengthening employees' commitment to the company.
It is the purpose of this report to review the literature on team decision making to identify its strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. This problem û the relative effectiveness of team-centered decision making û will be explored both theoretically as well as with respect to empirical studies. It will be argued that team decision-making is most viable in work settings in which the corporate culture supports innovation, employee empowerment and autonomy, and non-authoritarian leadership.
Pierce and Newstrom (2000) have described team or group decision making as part of an overall strategy of participative leadership in which the authoritarian mode of decision making is replaced with a more egalitarian set of strategies to achieve consensus. As companies move from an authoritarian supervisory and hierarchical framework to a new emphasis on small groups, work teams, and employee empowerment, more and more decisions relevant to business strategy and other functional aspects of work are taken by groups and not by individuals.
Sales (2000) believes that this transformation from individual to group decision-making has occurred in part because of the belief that employees tend to produce more under democratic supervision, to be more self-motivated in the absence of autocratic supervision, and to be better able to achieve consensus by reducing conflict. Similarly, Wageman (1997) argued that team...