This article throws light upon the top four techniques adopted by group members to take decisions. The techniques are: 1. Meetings 2. Brainstorming 3. Nominal Group Technique 4. Delphi Technique.

Technique # 1. Meetings:

Meeting is gathering of people to discuss a common issue. Members gather to discuss issues mentioned in the agenda and make various decisions. The chairperson controls the proceedings of the meeting and conducts the affairs smoothly.

Meetings can be of two types:

(a) Command meetings:


These are the meetings of managers and subordinates where subordinates express their views but the final decision-making power vests with the managers. Managers decide what to discuss in meetings and subordinates act according to directions of managers. It is an autocratic style of meeting where members participate in the meeting but do as directed.

(b) Committee meetings:

Committee is “a group of persons to whom, some matter is committed”. Committees are made in business and non-business organisations. In business organisations, they are made at each level—top, middle and low to facilitate smooth functioning of the organisation. Since top managers cannot deal with business problems single handedly, they frame committees with people from different departments who collectively think and arrive at solutions to the problems.

The committee frames rules for dealing with various matters after consulting members of the group who express their opinion verbally, in writing or by show of hands. Properly conducted committee meetings used for the right purpose can result in motivation, improved problem-solving and increased output. Committees are chaired by heads of committees known as chairpersons or conveners.


Committees can be of different types. Standing Committee is a permanent committee that takes managerial decisions and helps chief executive in implementing them. Ad hoc committee is formed for a specific purpose and dissolves once the purpose is achieved. A committee formed for launching a new product dissolves once the product is launched. Advisory committee consists of experts from different areas like finance, law, tax etc.

It advises top executives in making important decisions. An effective meeting is the one where agenda is prepared and circulated to members in advance, where everybody gets a chance to speak and which concludes with a positive outcome acceptable to all the members.

Technique # 2. Brainstorming:

Developed in 1939, brainstorming refers to generation of ideas for decision-making. A group of 10 to 15 members connected with the problem offer ideas to find solution for a specific problem. The problem is stated to the members who spontaneously give ideas on how the problem can be solved. When the group discusses the problems, members put forward their ideas.

All ideas—positive or negative, relevant or irrelevant, are invited and final decision is based on them. No idea is criticized, howsoever bizarre it may be. Ideas are generated without criticism and scanning. This technique encourages as many ideas as possible within the given time frame, does not criticize any idea, evaluates the ideas against some pre determined criteria and generates decision-making alternatives for solving the problem.


Brainstorming aims at generating ideas, evaluating them and arriving at the best solution. The focus of brainstorming is on quantity and not much on quality of ideas. These ideas are analyzed later and the small few which are relevant to the decision problem are finally chosen. Any constraints, financial or non-financial, that come in the way of idea generation are ruled out as they may obstruct the free flow of ideas.

Technique # 3. Nominal Group Technique:

Without encouraging verbal communication, in this technique, all members of the group think of ideas and suggestions to solve the problem and put them on paper. A list of all the ideas is prepared which represents different viewpoints. All the ideas are discussed and evaluated against each other. Each idea is then ranked. Finally, the idea with the highest ranking is adopted as the decision to solve the problem.

Decision-making through nominal group technique follows the following steps:

(a) Form a group of people relevant to the problem.


(b) Select a group leader to proceed the discussion.

(c) The leader presents the problem to group members.

(d) Members express their opinions, ideas and suggestions in writing without discussing them.

(e) A list is prepared that represents ideas offered by different members.


(f) All the ideas are thrown open for discussion.

(g) Ideas are ranked according to priority.

(h) Idea that ranks highest in the list of priority is the final outcome that represents consensus of all the members.

Technique # 4. Delphi Technique:

Similar in nature to nominal group technique, Delphi technique is used where members are geographically dispersed and cannot assemble at the central place to make decisions. A consensus of opinion is obtained by coordinating diverse viewpoints offered by different members.


Delphi technique follows the following process for solving the problems:

(a) The problem is identified and a questionnaire is prepared for respondents to answer.

(b) The questionnaire is sent to all the members.

(c) Questionnaires are collected and compiled at the central location.


(d) Results are sent to members and they are asked to give their opinion on the same.

(e) Further suggestions are reviewed and processed again.

(f) The process is repeated until a consensus of opinion is arrived at.

This technique is useful where members are staying at distant locations. It saves time and money on their travelling to the central location. However, this technique does not work where immediate decisions have to be taken. It takes lot of time for members to arrive at consensus of opinion as there is lack of personal interaction amongst them.