When you assemble a number of people to have advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those people all their prejudices, their passions, their errors or opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly, can a perfect production be expected? ~ Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention, September 15, 1787 Franklin’s eighteenth century question foreshadows a basic concern for today’s team-dominated business world. First, while individuals are still important, groups are becoming the de-facto unit of work for organizations today. Working cooperatively is becoming a necessity; working collaboratively is becoming paramount to career success. Second, as the work environment changes into a virtual work environment, it is important to know how groups deal with making decisions. In this light, before we ask groups to come to consensus in a virtual environment, we must be clear on how well they understand consensus itself.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Problem-Based Learning: The learning methodology that uses hands-on practical exercises to demonstrate the topics which are being taught.
Internal Consistency: With regard to consensus in this experiment, the internal consistency of a person was determined by comparing the subject’s qualitative aspect of consensus with the quantitative aspect of consensus. When they differed significantly, the subject was said to exhibit internal inconsistency.
Synthesis: In problem solving, the convergent process by which an individual or a group recompose the basic parts of a problem such as constraints, resources, assumptions, and so forth, into a feasible solution.
Analysis: In problem solving, the divergent process by which a problem is decomposed into its basic parts such as constraints, resources, assumptions, and so forth.
Consensus Building: The process by which consensus for group can be facilitated. This can be a manual or automated process.
Consensus: General agreement on a topic or issue by two or more people; unanimous agreement is not required for a group to have consensus. Consensus has both a qualitative (social) and quantitative (mathematical) context.
Problem Solving: The methodology or process by which a problem is decomposed (analyzed) and then recomposed (synthesized) in such a way as to create a feasible solution.