Ahmed and Kristen are cocaptains of a coed recreational league basketball team. The team is down by two points with three seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter. The winner of the game moves on to the next round of the play-offs. The team has taken a time-out to decide what to do in the last three seconds. The team’s center, Mary, has been successful scoring from close to the basket all night. Ahmed thinks they should get the ball to Mary and go for the tie. Kristen thinks they should go for the win and pass the ball to Brady, who has been sinking three-pointers all night. How will the team figure out which strategy to use?
As individuals, people make hundreds of decisions every day. While working with groups, the number of decisions people make expands exponentially. Both the individual members in the group and the group as a whole are making decisions. Think about the first decision people make each day. That decision probably was influenced by one of the last decisions made the day before-what time to get up! As simple as it may be, choosing what time to wake up immediately affects the rest of an individual’s day. If a person decides to get up early, she has time for a cup of coffee and a glance at the newspaper before going to work. If she gets up late, however, she does not have time to read in the newspaper that the bridge she normally crosses on her bike ride to work has just been closed for repairs. So she ends up being late for an important meeting. Even a seemingly straightforward decision like choosing what time to get up follows a general six-step process. This process is outlined in figure 6.2.
Often, the first step in the decision-making process is getting oriented with the decision, while the second step identifies factors surrounding the decision. Through these processes, individuals or groups can determine the nature of the decision, issue, or problem to the best of their ability. At this point, it is in the best interest of the group members to be sure they have adequately defined the decision to be made or problem at hand. Ahmed and Kristen have identified and defined the decision to be made-should they go inside for the tie or shoot the three-pointer for the win?