Group Decision Making Techniques

Posted on April 10, 2009 by


How can direction be set for a group? Group Decision Making Techniques is listed as a technique of the Collect Requirements process described in the fourth edition PMBOK®. However, these can be used at any time a group decision must be made—not only decisions regarding requirements or project management. Four methods of reaching a decision are: unanimity, majority, plurality, and dictatorship. Katy and her husband have three children. The family is trying to decide what type of cookies they should bake. Here are examples of each of the decision making methods.

Unanimity: everyone in the group agrees to the same thing. Everyone in the family has to come into agreement. After discussing their options and hearing a passionate speech from the youngest child about how good great-grandma’s recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies is, each person decides that they could have oatmeal raisin cookies.

Majority: more than fifty percent of the group decides. There are five people in Katy’s family. Her husband and two of the children want sugar cookies, and since three of five people is sixty percent (which is more than the necessary fifty percent), the family has sugar cookies.

Plurality: the largest block of people in the group decides. The parents are a block of two people and the children are a block of three people, so the children are permitted to decide that the family will have peanut butter cookies.

Dictatorship: one person makes the decision for the group. Katy states that she’s the one that will be baking, and she alone decides that the family will be having chocolate chip cookies.