Problem-solving and decision-making at the group level - a literary review
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This report summarizes a literature study pertaining to research on decision-making in groups, carried out as part of the project 807 SLADI (Battlefield Digitization – consequences for command and operation). It addresses the question of size, member characteristics, communication, decision-making under risk & uncertainty, time, group polarization, group think, stress, cognition, and natural as opposed to ad hoc groups. The advantages and disadvantages of different group characteristics are discussed and evaluated in light of the literature, lending some suggestions as to what seems to define an optimal decision-making group. Suggestions point in the direction of medium size groups (5-7), heterogeneity and equality of group members, and decentralized communication. As groups increase in size (8-10), they are, nevertheless, found to benefit from leadership, albeit a democratic and task focused leadership. Furthermore, the availability of information, and adapting it, along with task and technology, to human cognitive function and capacity, is found to be important for the group performance. Finally, training people together as teams rather than employing ad hoc groups proves advantageous under various conditions, especially under those characterized as emergency situations.