REVIEW: WISER: GETTING BEYOND GROUPTHINK TO MAKE GROUPS SMARTER

THE MAIN IDEA

How can we ensure we can make better group decisions? Drawing on the latest business and social science research the authors provide concrete ways in which organizations can improve their group decision making processes. 

INTERESTING TIDBIT

One of the co-authors, Cass Sunstein, in addition to being a prolific author and public intellectual was also Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW

Group decisions sometimes work...and sometimes don't. The problem is when they don't! In this book the authors offer a range of concrete mechanisms - drawing from organizations as different as the CIA and Google - to help organizations make better collective decision making.

THE GENERAL OVERVIEW 

Groups sometimes make worse decisions than any individual member of the group would have made. the authors provide four reasons for why this is the case. They are:

• When the group amplifies rather than corrects the individual errors of its members
• When the group members follow the leader instead of revealing their own opinions and knowledge
• When the group tends to become more extreme as a result of internal discussions
• When group members concentrate on shared information and ignore critical information that only one or a few people have.

the authors then go on to suggest a number of ways in which these types of 'failure' can be overcome - including:

• the importance of separating the process of generating possible solutions from the process of selecting a preferred solution,
• ways in which combining information from multiple group members can result in statistically better decisions,
• the role of experts, and
• the use of tournaments and prediction markets.

A useful resource for any manager and a fun read as well!

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