Unit 5, Group dynamics in ethical decision making, what influences the way groups make ethical decisions

Throughout my entire career, I have mainly worked for small companies. In doing so, my experiences I have only allowed me to be a part of small employee groups having discussions regarding ethical business decisions. Now working for a Fortune 500 company, it has become abundantly clear, we/I need to be flexible in how we make decisions and if it is more ethical in small groups or larges groups.  “A group consists of three or more people who interact and are interdependent in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other” (PSU, 2019).  When working in small groups it is easy for us to want to conform to what others are thinking to not cause conflict as we may work closely with these individuals.  In a large group setting, it tends to lead to not everyone’s voices being heard and only a few will actually speak up during meetings or projects. In groups, there may arise some conflict and that is acceptable as long as it is for the good of the company and drives diverse thinking about a decision.  This can drive diverse thinking about a decision and can help a company become a more compliant company in that everyone will speak up to discuss problems and ensure they get addressed. Group dynamics are an increasingly vital measure of organizational success, and standards of behavior are viewed within the context of profit and integrity, it is imperative that the group conceptualize the impact of their decisions (Chmielewski, C.  2004).

When it comes to group dynamics of any size it is important to consider everyone’s individual thinking and motives as each person has their own idea of what will be an ethical decision and reasoning for that decision.  For this reason, each company has its own ethical standards and code of ethics which will help in every employee’s decision-making thought process.  This means that we will use “moral” when dealing with personal or life decisions with a focus on “right conduct” as the result of a personal choice (Decision innovation, 2019).

However, at times the members of the group may tend to think in the same way and have cohesion with one another. However, this type of cohesion is bad as it will tend to lead to a decrease in individual thought and everyone will think the same way.  If a group becomes overly cohesive, there is the risk of groupthink, “a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action”(PSU,2019).  This is the issue with groupthink and teams are overly cohesive and could not develop their own thoughts or bring forward their great ideas that may never come out in a groupthink environment.  We do see how groupthink can affect bigger companies and limits the company’s overall success and these to lead problems with companies such as Swissair, American Auto companies and banks during the crisis of 2008.  One of the best examples of this is with the American Automakers companies as these companies became overly confident in their business model and did not think they needed to bring new ideas brought to their product and innovate. Over time, they cultivated leadership and a culture that believed that not only were Americans the undisputedly best automakers in the world but that these companies knew exactly what the American population wanted (Demers, j 2018).

What was interesting about the groups’ dynamics is how different sizes groups can really make a difference with a business and their employees due in part to not how big the groups’ size is but how the discussions are lead to how the group encourages diverse thought.  Instead of being limited by the direction of a top-down approach, a synergistic group dynamic motivates contributors to collaborate without boundaries (Dagillis, J 2018).

Citations/references:

Dagillis, Jesse (2018), The Significance of Group Dynamics in Motivating Others, retrieved from https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/significance-group-dynamics-motivating-others-16407.html

Chmielewski, Christine (2004), Values and culture in ethical decision making, retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Values-and-culture-in-ethical-decision-making.aspx

DeMers, Jayson (2018), How ‘Groupthink’ Can Cost Your Business (and 3 Corporate Examples), retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/311864

PSU. (2019).  PSY 833: Lesson 11, Small groups, retrieved from;  https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1963919/pages/l11-characteristics-of-small-groups?module_item_id=25808525

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