The trap of "group thinking" and other effects of teamwork
Perhaps many faced with a similar paradox: why, from the increase in the number of participants in a team, not only did its effectiveness not increase, but, on the contrary, decrease? I began to study this issue, because in the course of my management, I came across a similar situation several times.
Those who are directly involved in organizing teamwork and use a collective decision-making method should be aware of the phenomenon of “group effects”. I came across an article answering my question and want to share it with you.
Murphy's Law does not lie, and eight people actually do ten jobs better than twelve. This phenomenon is not the only one that hinders successful teamwork. ')
Where decisions are made collectively, there are always group effects, which are more properly called defects, and about the negative impact of which it would be nice to know. As they say, if you want to walk on the water - know where there are reefs under it.
Group contribution effect
Teamwork is very important. It allows you to blame the other. Fingale's Eighth Rule
It is known that in the competition for rope pulling, members of a small team make more efforts than participants of a large team. It may seem strange, but the higher the number of participants in a group, the lower its effectiveness. This phenomenon is called the group contribution effect or the Ringelman effect.
Maximilian Ringelman found that people in a team put in less effort than with individual work. He was convinced of this by the experiments he conducted, one of which involved weightlifters. It turned out that two weightlifters in four hands are able to lift a weight that is only 93% of the total weight lifted by each of them individually. Those. doubling efficiency did not occur.
Measuring the results of groups depending on the number of participants, Ringelman derived a formula for calculating the efficiency of a team.
= 100 - 7 * (-1), where is the average individual contribution of the participants; K - the number of members of the group.
It is easy to calculate that the efficiency of a group of three people will be 86%, and of the eight - only 51%. The motives for such behavior are quite understandable. The person left with the task alone, is counting only on himself. While working in a team, he is not solely responsible and, in obedience to the law of energy saving, relies on others. And the more in the group of others, the more he relies on them.
The effect of group thinking
Often, when disagreements appear in a group, the phenomenon of “grouping of thinking” occurs. In an effort to avoid conflict, the participants are trying to settle everything and find a solution that suits everyone. The desire is reasonable, but only a compromise is more important for them than an objective decision.
Members of the group voluntarily reject critical judgments and diversified assessments, and its leaders suppress any dissent. The discovery of this phenomenon belongs to the American psychologist Irving Janis.
Interestingly, people show the greatest degree of conformism when confronted with the general opinion of three or more people.
The principles of effective brainstorming help to avoid the trap of “group thinking”:
Freedom from stereotypical thinking and openness to everything new.
The heterogeneity of the group "storming" by status, age and level of knowledge of the issue under discussion.
Preliminary acquaintance of participants with questions for discussion and clarification of their opinion.
Clear “timing”. Knowing that a certain amount of time was allotted for brainstorming (ideally 30 minutes), the team laid out to the maximum.
Search for a solution in 2 stages: at the first stage, ideas are generated, at the second they are analyzed and developed.
Encouraging healthy criticism, controversy and controversy during the analysis of ideas.
Appointment of a moderator who defends opinions that do not coincide with the general position of the group.
The collection of ideas from the participants "ascending" posts *
* This is how problems are solved in many Japanese enterprises. First, the younger ones express their opinions in rank, then the older ones. The last say the team leader. This helps to avoid the pressure of the authority of superiors.
This method is called shipboard advice. It was used by the ancient Vikings. When during a voyage on a ship a difficult situation arose, the whole team gathered on the deck and shared their thoughts, and the young began to speak, and the captain finished. The choice of decision remained for the leader.
When making collective decisions, group members inevitably find themselves influenced by the polarization effect:
If the group was determined and optimistic before the discussion, it is inclined to take more risky decisions. Listening to each other, team members are once again convinced of “their rightness” and tend to a more courageous decision. There is a “risk shift”.
If the group was initially conservative, then at a joint discussion the cautious position of each participant is only reinforced. There is a “shift to caution”, and the collective decision is more balanced and rational.
This is how the polarization effect works: after the discussion, the group's opinion is strengthened and shifted towards one of the poles - extreme risk or extreme caution.
Previously, it was believed that decisions made by the group are obviously more risky, because the team has less personal responsibility. In addition, in order to look better in the eyes of each other, participants compete in the courage of the proposed ideas, which also affects the amount of risk. But more recent studies have shown that this is not the case, confirming the polarization effect. Therefore, referring to the collective mind and teamwork, it is worth calibrating the decisions of the group in the direction of risk or caution. Moreover, having previously talked with each participant, you can easily project the position of the group and measure the level of risk in it.