Delphi Techniques Essay

A technique for preventing group think in which a group or individual is given the role of critic during decision making. • This process can be used to test the quality of the original argument and identify weakness in its structure. • A devil’s advocate is someone who argues against an idea, position, or cause for the sake of argument, rather than out of actual opposition. • Devil’s advocacy can be used as a critiquing technique after alternative solutions to a problem have been developed, it can also be used during the early stages of the decision-making process. Eg. During a decision-making session one member could be assigned the role of devil’s advocate, expressing as many objections to each alternative solution to a problem as possible. – It is a good idea to rotate the job of devil’s advocate so that no single person or group develops a strictly negative reputation. Advantages: Periodic devil’s advocacy role-playing is a good training technique for developing analytical and communication skills, as well as emotional intelligence. Disadvantages :

1. It exposes some underlying assumptions but does so by exposing what is Wrong with them not what they should be. . If the censure prevails and the plan is rejected there is no new plan to replace it. 3. There is a tendency for management’s attitude to be destructive rather than Constructive. Eg. Of Devil’s Advocacy practiced by organisations: • Royal Dutch Petroleum regularly uses a international journal of scholarly academic devil’s advocacy approach. • Before making a major decision, such as entering a market or building a plant, Anheuser-Busch assigns some group the role of critic with the purpose of uncovering all possible problems with a particular proposal and making a case for each side of the question. IBM has a system that encourages employees to disagree with their bosses. DIALECTICAL DECISION MAKING METHOD:- • Dialectical decision making method is essentially a debate between two opposite set of recommendation, its a constructive approach as it bring out benefit and limitation of both set of ideas. • Researcher has shown that the way a decisions is framed win-win v/s win-lose is very important. • A decisions outcome could be viewed as a gain or loss depending on the way decisions is framed. • Organizations that use dialectical inquiry create teams of decision makers.

Each team is instructed to generate and evaluate alternative courses of action and then recommend the best one. Then after hearing each team’s alternative courses of action, the team’s and the organization’s top managers meet together and select the best parts of each plan and synthesize a final plan that provides the best opportunity for success. ADVANTAGES:- A range of ideas can be exploited. Help focus on points of contension. Provide the stimuli for creativity. Provides a stimulus for brigding seemingly irreconcilable opposites. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a process for developing creative solutions to problems. Brainstorming works by focusing on a problem, and then deliberately coming up with as many solutions as possible and by pushing the ideas as far as possible. One of the reasons it is so effective is that the Brainstormers not only come up with new ideas in a session, but also spark off from associations with other people’s ideas by developing and refining them. There are four basic rules in brainstorming intended to reduce social inhibitions among team members, stimulate idea generation, and increase overall creativity:

No criticism: Criticism of ideas are withheld during the brainstorming session as the purpose is on generating varied and unusual ideals and extending or adding to these ideas. Criticism is reserved for the evaluation stage of the the process. This allows the members to feel comfortable with the idea of generating unusual ideas. Welcome unusual ideas: Unusual ideas are welcomed as it is normally easier to “tame down” than to “tame up” as new ways of thinking and looking at the world may provide better solutions.

Quantity Wanted: The greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution. Combine and improve ideas: Not only are a variety of ideals wanted, but also ways to combine ideas in order to make them better. Focus on quantity: This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution. The Procedure 1.

Define the problem 2. Generate the Goal 3. Define the Objective 4. Identify resources and constraints 5. Identify a strategy 6. Summarize on the board the group decisions Nominal Group Technique Nominal Group Technique, a face-to-face process for gaining consensus. A typical application is in organizational planning, when a group needs to agree priorities in order to assign resources and funds. The benefit of the technique is that the group shares and discusses all issues before evaluation, with each group member participating equally in evaluation. Procedure : 1.

Select a group leader and group participants. 2. Present the topic and objectives, usually ahead of the group meeting. 3. Ask the group members to discuss the topic, ask questions and seek clarifications. 4. Allow participants time to consider the issues and projects they believe are the most important. 5. Ask each participant to write down his or her priority issues or projects. Record all the group’s responses on a master list or a flipchart for the group to view. 6. After all responses have been recorded, work through the responses together as a group and eliminate duplicates. Group Member

Project |Jay |Sue |Rik |Jina |Will |Gary |”Score” |Group consensus priorities | |Family Link program |5 |3 |  |3 |5 |3 |19 |5 (high) | |Literacy program |2 |4 |2 |1 |4 |4 |17 |4 | |Community program |  |5 |  |  |  |  |5 |  | |Annual fund raiser |1 |  |1 |2 |3 |2 |9 |1 | |Summer camp project |  |  |5 |  |  |5 |10 |2 | |School bus  fund raiser |3 |  |  |  |2 |  |5 |  | |Book fund |  |2 |4 |  |1 |1 |8 |  | |After school  club |  |1 |  |5 |  |  |6 |  | |Work experience |4 |  |3 |4 |  |  |11 |3 | |Now ask participants to choose their top priorities: say 5 to 10, depending on the number of issues and projects that the group needs to agree on.

Self-Managed Teams A self-managed team is a group of employees that’s responsible and accountable for all or most aspects of producing a product or delivering a service. Traditional organizational structures assign tasks to employees depending on their specialist skills or the functional department within which they work. A self-managed team carries out supporting tasks, such as planning and scheduling the workflow and managing annual leave and absence, in addition to technical tasks. Management and technical responsibilities are typically rotated among the team members. Benefits

Self-managed teams have greater ownership of the tasks they perform and the end product or service they deliver. Self-managed teams tend to be loss costly and more productive than employees working within a traditional hierarchical structure because the team performs both technical and management tasks. Team members may also fill in for each other to cover holidays and absences. Decisions made by self-managed teams are more effective because they’re made by the people who know most about the job. Disadvantages Although a cohesive self-managed team may create a sense of trust and respect between team members, overly cohesive teams can lead to groupthink”: Team members are more likely to conform with team norms than raise issues that may upset other team members. This may lead to reduced effort or stifled innovation. Teams may struggle to make the transition from supervisor-led management to self-management, either due to lack of interpersonal skills or poor implementation of the self-managed team concept within the organization. Leading a Self-Managed Team Although self-managed teams are autonomous in terms of how they manage and carry out their work, they still require guidance from leaders within the organizational hierarchy.

External leaders provide the link between the wider organization and the self-managed team, empowering the team. and advocating on its behalf. External leaders may struggle to find the appropriate balance in their leadership style: Their own managers may expect them to be more hands-on, while the team may resist perceived interference. QUALITY CIRCLE What is quality circle? • Voluntary groups of employees who work on similar tasks or share an area of responsibility • Agree to meet on a regular basis to discuss & solve problems related to work. operate on the principle that employee participation in decision-making and problem-solving improves the quality of work Characteristics – Volunteers – Set Rules and Priorities – Decisions made by Consensus – Use of organized approaches to Problem-Solving – All members of a Circle need to receive training – Members need to be empowered – Members need to have the support of Senior Management Advantages of quality circles : • Increase productivity • Improve quality • Boost employee morale Disadvantages of quality circles : • Inadequate Training Unsure of Purpose • Not truly Voluntary • Lack of Management Interest • Quality Circles are not really empowered to make decisions Techniques for quality circles • Brainstorming • Pareto analysis • Cause and effect diagram • Histogram DELPHI TECHNIQUE: The name “Delphi” derives from the Oracle of Delphi. The authors of the method were not happy with this name, because it implies “something oracular, something smacking a little of the occult”. The Delphi method is based on the assumption that group judgments are more valid than individual judgments. The Delphi method is a structured communication technique, originally developed as a systematic, interactive forecasting method which relies on a panel of experts. ? In the standard version, the experts answer questionnaires in two or more rounds. After each round, a facilitator provides an anonymous summary of the experts’ forecasts from the previous round as well as the reasons they provided for their judgments. ? Thus, experts are encouraged to revise their earlier answers in light of the replies of other members of their panel.

It is believed that during this process the range of the answers will decrease and the group will converge towards the “correct” answer. Finally, the process is stopped after a pre-defined stop criterion (e. g. number of rounds, achievement of consensus, stability of results) and the mean or median scores of the final rounds determine the results. ? Delphi is based on the principle that forecasts (or decisions) from a structured group of individuals are more accurate than those from unstructured groups. This has been indicated with the term “collective intelligence” Advantages of Delphi Technique. Delphi Technique: Is conducted in writing and does not require face-to-face meetings: – responses can be made at the convenience of the participant; – individuals from diverse backgrounds or from remote locations to work together on the same problems; – is relatively free of social pressure, personality influence, and individual dominance and is, therefore, conducive to independent thinking and gradual formulation of reliable judgments or forecasting of results; – helps generate consensus or identify divergence of opinions among groups hostile to each other; • Helps keep attention directly on the issue: Allows a number of experts to be called upon to provide a broad range of views, on which to base analysis—“two heads are better than one”: – allows sharing of information and reasoning among participants; – iteration enables participants to review, re-evaluate and revise all their previous statements in light of comments made by their peers; • Is inexpensive.

Disadvantages of Delphi Technique: • Information comes from a selected group of people and may not be representative; • Tendency to eliminate extreme positions and force a middle-of-the-road consensus; • More time-consuming than group process methods; • Requires skill in written communication; • Requires adequate time and participant commitment.