This page was introduced with the 7th Edition in 2008. It will be replaced with a Facebook page for interaction among users of the book.

It is now an archive of the questions that were asked and the answers submitted by students.

Question of the Moment
Moderated by Andrew Ledbetter

March 11, 2010

The functional theory of group decision making addresses four functions that groups must perform to reach good decisions: (a) analysis of the problem, (b) goal setting, (c) identification of alternatives, and (d) evaluation of positive and negative characteristics. Speaking from your experiences with groups, which function is most difficult to perform, and why?

Chris Thiessen
Multnomah University
I think the hardest that I have found is definitely goal setting. People in groups are often still focused on themselves and thus, are unwilling to compromise. Other than that I have found that analysis can also be tricky.

Multnomah University
From my experience with functional theory in a group setting, goal setting is definitely a top challenge. When you gather a number of people, you also gather a number of opinions and differences in processing. In most cases, great weaknesses can become great strengths. This is all up to the group and it's dynamics to decided what avenue they chose to chase after.

Alaina Arp
Multnomah University
From my experience as a college newspaper editor, evaluating an alternative's positive and negative characteristics is usually the most difficult group function. In a group deciding what stories to include in an upcoming issue, determining what stories best fit our audience, time frame, and feasibility was the most challenging. However, in other groups different functions could be more difficult. Groups that include members with different beliefs or ideals will find setting criteria to judge alternatives (goal setting) more difficult because they will run into conflicting biases.

Northwest Nazarene
Usually, i find it the most difficult to set a goal for a group project. I'm so focused on the work that i have to finish, that i forget to determine what i want my finalized project to achieve. Most of the time i end up waiting till the last minute to even start something, that i am such a hurry to get it done i dont have time for anything but the work.

Lynne D
Longwood University
I believe the evaluation of positive and negative characteristics is the most important, and as discusssed, difficult step in the functional theory of decision making. It is the most difficult because it goes against everything we naturally think or feel as human beings, including our positive and negatives biases. For example, it is easy to acknowledge you admire a friend, but if they are applying for a leadership position, they may not be the best candidate.The analysis of the problem is usually easy to identify because the group has come together under the pretense that they will be finding a solution.Identification of alternative is a difficult process, but solutions can be found as long as everyone generates ideas

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