The Social Side of Decision Making Essay Sample

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Introduction

            One of the cleverest things we can do is go beyond our own perspective. Frequent among us see and interpret the world only from our own perception, defining what we experience from a one-point angle, our insights. The initial perspective is when we are feeling a definite way not because of other people who only dish up as trigger on our judgment but because of our own personal issues inside.

Another perspective is that people, by nature, are social beings needy and wanting for emotional and intellectual nurturance, will see things subject to social influences such as friends, peer groups, family members and other institutions of the society; this is because human beings as the basic unit of the society have two ultimate goals which is to be love and accepted. Perhaps, decisions and judgments with the intention to affect not only an individual must regard social factors.

Social Influence

            There are aspects about others that can constrain our actions and manipulate us; this force is what we call the social influence. It is an inevitable force that tends influence the perception of an individual.  Social factors include family as the basic unit of the society, church, government institutions, media, community and other institutions. There are several forms of social influence and conformity is the most common and pervasive form. In this form, an individual tends to act and think defiant (Rashotte).

Social Comparison Theory

            Social comparison theory is the theory that states that people tend to compare themselves with the use of the generalized others. The generalized others are the people surrounding that particular individual, in which that individual compares himself with (Festinger, 1954).

            In the five-unit activity there is a clear manifestation that social comparison theory was evident to the decision of the group members. Jill, for example, formatted or compared his answer with Bennett’s answer; he was highly influenced by the member of the group but he wasn’t still certain if his answer was correct or not.

            Social comparison highly affects an individuals’ perception. Human beings tend to move closer to the ones they actually are alike. One the human beings ultimate goal is to be accepted or loved, the tendency of an individual is to get their perception be affected by other individuals or institutions of the society.

Group Thinking

            One of the goals of group thinking is having a unity within the group. They tend to drive into the same decisions and conclusions because they share the same consensus and they opt to minimize conflict among the members. Groupthink avoids promoting points of view which are outside their consensus (Janis, 1997).

            In the activity the group thinks about the conclusion collectively. Each member of the group gave different answers. Hence, there was diversity among the members but they think as one in giving the conclusion so they arrived at having a single decision. However, groupthink subsequently deprives an individual to think on his own. An individual is rather influenced by the decision of the group, thus he or she cannot state his or her insights because the group members might not accept the proposal.

Groupthink and Attribution Error

            Parallels between the tendency to take credit for success or group-enhancing bias and deny the group’s responsibility for any failure or protecting-protecting bias is a manifestation between groupthink and attribution error. Group-enhancing bias helps us protect our ego and it also helps us to confirm that our goals are being met.

            In the activity the group was seen for having the Group-serving bias and the group-protecting bias because the members of the group think as one to be able to minimize critique and to diminish conflict among the members. Hence, the group showed parallelism between groupthink and attributions error.

Group Polarization

            Group decisions are riskier than that of individual decisions this is because the risk is accumulated (Stoner).

            In the activity, the group decided to take the decision into the riskier side because they decided to do the groupthink and that made it more complicated. However, the group decides through widely examining the decisions of each member of the group. Thus, it does not deprive each member to say their own perceptions and ideas about a problem.

Conclusion

            Group decisions can lead to critical errors in their decisions and judgments. If an individual decision is a risk enough how much more is a group decision? In a group, each member tends to think and be influenced by the perception of the other member’s perception, thus depriving that member to think on his own. However, even if the individual decision is diverse the group tends to come up with one stable decision by weighing the individual decisions of each member.

            Social influence theory plays a big role in the decision of an individual or group; it is inevitable and it can really change the way an individual thinks or perceives. However, social influence somehow deprives an individual to think on his own because he or she might be hesitant that what he or she perceive is wrong. Nonetheless, these social influences are considered as non-dysfunctional.

Reference:

Festinger. (1954). Social Comparison Theory [Electronic Version] from http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/social_comparison.htm.

Janis, I. M., L. . (1997). Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment. [Electronic Version] from http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~fulmer/groupthink.htm.

Rashotte, L. Social Influence [Electronic Version] from http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/sociology/docs/BEOS_S1413.pdf.

Stoner, J. A. F. Group Polarization [Electronic Version] from http://www.uky.edu/~drlane/capstone/group/gpolar.htm.

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