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Group  Discussion

Main Topics Guidelines Elements Agenda Doubts Assessment


GUIDELINES FOR GROUP DISCUSSION

Group Discussions requires that a number of persons with different ideas and points of view come together and talk in order to solve a problem they have in common. To make a group discussion effective the following points have to be kept in mind.

1. Discussions must be GOAL DIRECTED. Any Group Discussion is an exercise intended to accomplish some goal that the individual acting alone could not attain. The effectiveness of a Group Discussion is measured not only by the quality and quantity of individual participation's but also by the fact that whether the group as a whole has been able to reach some sort of consensus on the issue at hand.

2. Every member must be RESPONSIBLE for the group effectiveness. Too often it happens that certain non-participants start abdicating personal responsibility to contribute to the outcome. Simply by not participating, they permit people with total Italian ldeas to takeover a democratic process. Whenever a group member decides to escape the responsibility of making a decision he not only impairs the effectiveness of the group but also loses out in the bargain.

3. Every members must aim for COOPERATION rather than CONFLICT and should have a positive ATTITUDE. Conflict, provided it is healthy should never be avoided as it helps to looks at a problem from various angles and come up with alternatives. Therefore whenever conflicting view points arise, active participation's and a positive attitude should resolve them. In a Group Discussion, it is O.K. to disagree so long as one is not disagreeable. Every decision need not be arrived at by consensus. There are bound to be times when groups will have to bargains and come to a negotiated settlement: at times, It may even be necessary to vote.

4. An effective discussion requires leadership.

This problem is resolved easily when the group consists of persons known to each other and working in the same organization. The hierarchy usually decides the leader. But in a situation such as ours, where we may be seeing each other for the first time, this part of deciding on a leader, to monitor and guide the discussion, is very difficult. It has however, been noticed that once the discussion on a particular issue starts, a leader normally emerges who takes it upon himself to guide the Group Discussion. The ideal thing to do for such a person (since he has not elected and has no formal powers of a leader) would be to act as a facilitator and ensure a smooth flow of ideas and information.

An effective discussion will logically lead to and effective decision. The effectiveness of a groups final product is after all, the bottom line in evaluating the groups success. According to Maier the formula for an effective decision is :
ED = Q X A
Effective Decision = Quality X Acceptance

Quality is measured by objective information such as problem situation, cost of implementation, creative problem solving ideas etc. Acceptance refers to the degree to which the decision garners commitment from those who implement and work with it. It would mean the extent to which an individual believes in the decisions taken by the group.

 



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