Collective Decision Making
Collective decision making occurs when individuals work with others to make decisions, thereby reducing the amount of responsibility that any one person can have for the outcome of the decision. Research has shown that collective decision making often results in more extreme decisions than those that would have been made by the individual; it remains to be seen as to whether or not this extremism is positive or negative.
Collective decision making can take any number of forms and purposes. Consensus decision making, for example, attempts to reduce the likelihood that any individual or subgroup would feel like winners or losers based on whether or not their position was selected. This approach requires that the minority ultimately agree with the majority when making a final decision, even if there needs to be slight alterations to the final decision to accommodate those in the minority. Voting based decision making requires each member of the group to rate the various options; the average score of each option is taken, and the choice with the highest average is ultimately selected. This approach has two subcategories: a majority requires that more than half of the group agree with the decision that is made, while a plurality only mandates that the choice with the most supporters, even if it is less than half of the group, is the decision that is made. In the end, there is no perfect approach to collective decision making; the situation that requires a decision to be made and the options for the decision itself will dictate how to best approach the situation and ensure the best possible outcome is selected.