Individual and group decision-making processes both have advantages and disadvantages in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. At times, group collaboration creates advantages by introducing multiple perspectives. The right individual can also make excellent decisions with positive outcomes. Ultimately, great decisions are made when a process is followed to work through problems en route to a practical solution.

Accountability and Responsibility

In the larger corporate world, decisions have major ripple effects. Working in a group highlights the advantage of specialized knowledge. It also reduces risk by distributing accountability and responsibility across a panel rather than placing a large burden on the individual. Small business owners and managers have more leeway and rarely answer to a group of shareholders. The consequences of poor decision making are, however, very real. They may be noticed immediately, through measurable impact on your business. Small businesses are more agile and can change course quickly if a decision does not prove effective, while a larger scale business may require major overhauls while feeling long-term impact.

Working on a Timeline

Often, decisions are made on the fly and time taken for group consensus is debilitating. When time is of the essence, individual decision making from an experienced leader moves the business forward. Groups can form and execute decisions quickly when the individuals are familiar and comfortable working with each other. Setting clear goals and deadlines is imperative for groups working on urgent timelines.

Blended Approach

Decision making is not always defined in a singular manner. Blending the power of individual and group processes is an efficient approach. Blended decision making takes the decision made by an individual leader and runs it through a group panel for critique and suggestions regarding revisions. The individual ultimately receives credit (positive or negative), but the final decision is refined and improved through group processes. The blended approach is common in politics, where advisers are present for specialized knowledge and assistance on decisions that are ultimately made by a single individual.