Group decision making (also known as collaborative decision making) is a situation faced when individuals collectively make a choice from the alternatives before them. This decision is no longer attributable to any single individual who is a member of the group. This is because all the individuals and social group processes such as social influence contribute to the outcome. The decisions made by groups are often different from those made by individuals. Group polarization is one clear example: groups tend to make decisions that are more extreme than those of its individual members, in the direction of the individual inclinations. There is much debate as to whether this difference results in decisions that are better or worse. According to the idea of synergy, decisions made collectively tend to be more effective than decisions made by a single individual. However, there are also examples where the decisions made by a group are flawed, such as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the incident on which the Groupthink model of group decision making is based. Factors that impact other social group behaviours also affect group decisions. For example, groups high in cohesion, in combination with other antecedent conditions (e.g. ideological homogeneity and insulation from dissenting opinions) have been noted to have a negative effect on group decision making and hence on group effectiveness. Moreover, when individuals make decisions as part of a group, there is a tendency to exhibit a bias towards discussing shared information (i.e., shared information bias), as opposed to unshared information.
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