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Unit Outline Managing the Group Creativity and Decision Making 1. Why is creativity important to decision making? 2. How can I promote creativity? 3. What are some creative methods of developing decisions? * Brainstorming Groups * Assigned Committees 4. What should I know about brainstorming groups? 5. What can I do to improve a brainstorming session? Decision Making and Power 1. What is power? 2. What are the different types of power? * Reward * Coercive * Legitimate * Expert * Referent 3. What are the limitations of decision making power? Managing Conflict 1. How do I address conflict within the group? * Emphasize common goals * Compromise 2. Can group conflict be beneficial? Unit Content

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Managing the Group Creativity and Decision Making Why is creativity important to decision making? Creativity offers three benefits to the decision making process:
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Creativity can help develop new ideas that are practical and relevant to the situation. Creative groups view situations from a variety of perspectives, which encourages the generation of ideas. Creativity promotes communication. Creativity often requires input from a variety of individuals, therefore promoting communication both inside and outside the organization. Creativity helps create a flexible atmosphere. Individuals need to be flexible and disregard the standard way of doing things in order to benefit from a creative approach.

How can I promote creativity? Several approaches can be used to promote creativity:
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Perspective approaches encourage group members to approach a situation from a different viewpoint by requiring that they imagine the situation from another job position. Comparative approaches require group members to make a comparison between the present situation and a previous similar circumstance to inspire new ideas for the current situation. Imaginative approaches require a variety of ideas to be shared, no matter how unusual or impractical. These ideas are then adapted to the current situation to determine which ones are feasible. This is the most creative approach to decision making since it encourages all ideas to be voiced. Example approaches can be used as a group or individually to generate new ideas for the current situation by discussing example situations.

What are some creative methods of developing decisions? There are two basic methods of creatively developing decisions:
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Brainstorming Groups Assigned Committees

Brainstorming Groups Brainstorming is the most effective method for creating solutions because it uses time efficiently and promotes individual creativity. This method creates an open atmosphere that encourages exchanging ideas among group members. Group members are asked to randomly suggest ideas, regardless of how practical they seem. After a list of options is suggested, each is examined to judge its feasibility in addressing the current situation. Brainstorming occurs in one of two ways. Either group members think of ideas individually and then meet to discuss them or the group holds a meeting to generate ideas together. Assigned Committees

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Assigned committees are structured groups that meet at regular times to discuss current issues. These committees consist of upper-level managers who create ideas and then relate them to superiors in order to receive approval for implementing the decision. The committee evaluates each option and then rejects or accepts it depending on its compatibility with previously implemented plans and the organization's overall goals. What should I know about brainstorming groups? Two aspects of brainstorming groups are important to keep in mind:
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Brainstorming groups should have six to eight members. This size makes sure that there are enough individuals to generate a sufficient amount of ideas. Groups larger than eight will create too many ideas and make it difficult to reach agreement within the group. Brainstorming group members should be people appropriately involved with the issue. Ideal group members should be outgoing, thoughtful, and willing to offer their viewpoints.

What can I do to improve a brainstorming session? There are two things you can do to improve a brainstorming session:
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Avoid harsh criticism that could prevent the open exchange of ideas. It is more appropriate to offer constructive criticism when group members make suggestions that are impractical or deficient. Constructive criticism is helpful because it clarifies what kinds of options are acceptable, but does so in a respectful manner. Allow time to thoroughly evaluate the situation. Time constraints limit the exploration of ideas and make group members feel rushed. By allowing the session to be extended when necessary, you make sure that options are thoroughly evaluated and that effective decisions are made.

Decision Making and Power What is power? Power is the ability of a person or group to influence the thoughts and actions of another party. To use power, a person or group must be willing to manipulate others to accomplish their goals. Power can be held by anyone in an organization, but usually status or position determines an individual's power level. What are the different types of power? There are five basic types of power that are found in organizations:
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Reward Coercive Legitimate Expert Referent

Reward Reward power enables decision makers to grant rewards to individuals who have achieved a goal or

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behaved in a certain manner. For reward power to work, the rewards must hold significant value for the receiver. Coercive Coercive power enables you to punish individuals who do not perform in a satisfactory manner. Decision makers need to understand how much punishment to administer to effectively change the individual's behavior. Legitimate Legitimate power enables decision makers to control situations due to the formal position they hold in the organization. The higher up the organizational ladder, the greater amount of power an individual will possess. Expert Individuals who are knowledgeable or have expertise in a particular area hold expert power. The amount of expert power an individual possesses is determined by how others view their ability and knowledge of the situation. Referent Referent power is based on your interpersonal relations with others. When you maintain a positive relationship with others, you will possess a greater amount of power to influence them. What are the limitations of decision making power? Group decision making power is limited by organizational constraints placed on the group:
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The amount of time a group is given to make a decision influences its decision making power. Time constraints can limit the number of options that a group generates and decrease the quality of the option evaluation process. Budget restraints are a common limitation encountered in decision making. The decision making group must work within budgets to determine which options the organization can afford to implement. Upper management can limit a group's decision making power by preventing a decision from being put into action or by establishing boundaries. Upper management is often involved in order to make sure that the organization's goals are being kept in mind.

Managing Conflict How do I address conflict within the group? Group conflict cannot be avoided, but it can be managed. There are two basic ways you can effectively address conflict when it surfaces in a group:
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Emphasize common goals Compromise

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Emphasize common goals In conflict situations it is important to find common goals to work toward. Shared goals direct group member's energy toward achieving an outcome instead of focusing on individual differences. Compromise Compromising in a conflict situation is effective because it allows group members to achieve part of their goal. Compromise helps each member work toward their personal and organizational goals while addressing the current situation's demands. Can group conflict be beneficial? Group conflict can be productive to the decision making process by raising issues that members had not previously considered. However, conflict should be managed so it does not divide a group and create a stalemate.

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