Decision-making is a complex and multi-staged process that requires acute attention to the information collection and analysis to solve a problem situation. In the organizational sphere, leaders’ choices and solutions constitute an overall performance of an enterprise.
There exist many techniques that require a particular set of skills and knowledge for a reasonable decision to be made. Among such techniques, there are group methods, which aim at active involvement of numerous members of an organization with every point of view included in the ultimate decision. Group techniques have their advantages and disadvantages and evolve as a research method that targets objectivity and equity in the participation. The nominal group technique (NGT) is an approach to group decision making that effectively incorporates the separately evaluated opinions of every group member for finding real solutions to business problems.
NGT might be a valuable means for effective group decision making due to its difference from the traditional group voting. NGT is a method that utilizes group as a nominal concept and does not involve any group decision-making in its primary meaning (Williams, 2014). Unlike in traditional groups, in NGT the participants list their ideas for the problem solution quietly and independently acting as individuals.
This stage is followed by the process of registering the suggestions on a board for everyone to see. The group leader only lists each idea at this stage; no discussion is allowed. After all the opinions were listed, they are discussed, and after that, an individual ranking of the proposed solutions is carried out (Williams, 2014). Such an approach allows independent presentation of every opinion in the group without biases caused by the dominance of particular individuals over others or by psychological issues that restrain people from objective and sincere representation.
NGT brings some positive outcomes due to its precise inclusion of each participant into a group activity although preserving their individualities in decision making. According to Williams (2014), many studies “have found that nominal groups produce better ideas than those produced by traditional groups” (p. 105).
In the circumstances when each member of the group can act as an individual clearly stating his or her point of view independently, it is possible to retrieve the most creative and effective alternatives to solutions that might not have occurred when primarily discussed in a group. This idea is related to the psychological environment in the collective body where there might be aggressive, oppressive or dominating personalities who would diminish the participation of calm individuals.
Concerning the modern advancement in technology, it is possible to integrate it into the decision-making process with the help of NGT. If the participants are located in separate places, diverse programs for video conferences might be a reasonable option to utilize when carrying out the procedure. Also, there might be some interactive platforms developed specifically for the technique’s implementation that would incorporate individual presentation of ideas, group discussion, and personal ranking.
Also, this method imposes many opportunities for managing the organizational change process. When dealing with change, any business faces difficulties in the identification of possible ways of alternative solutions which require addressing variable ranging from strategies, resources, and others. Thus, NGT introduces the possibility to include as many ideas from all the members of the group as possible to find the single most appreciated the solution.
To conclude, NGT is an important tool in the organizational decision-making that is capable of taking into consideration diverse alternative solution ideas with objective collective evaluation of each of them. Individual ranking of the presented ideas shows the unbiased results, which demonstrate the solution supported by the majority. When applied with technological tools for the participants who are located in different places, this method would minimize its limitations and contribute to business solution finding.
Williams, C. (2014). MGMT: Principles of management (7th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.