There’s a common expression that “two heads are better than one,” and that may often be the case. However, since we often bring groups together to work on resolving conflict, it’s also important to recognize when and why groups may fail at producing high-quality deliberations.
Two U Chicago scholars have released an interesting working paper on this issue, available here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1121400
Below is the paper’s abstract:
Many groups make their decisions through some process of deliberation, usually with the belief that deliberation will improve judgments and predictions. But deliberating groups often fail, in the sense that they make judgments that are false or that fail to take advantage of the information that their members have. There are four such failures. (1) Sometimes the predeliberation errors of group members are amplified, not merely propagated, as a result of deliberation. (2) Groups may fall victim to cascade effects, as the judgments of initial speakers or actors are followed by their successors, who do not disclose what they know. Nondisclosure, on the part of those successors, may be a product of either informational or reputational cascades. (3) As a result of group polarization, groups often end up in a more extreme position in line with their predeliberation tendencies. Sometimes group polarization leads in desirable directions, but there is no assurance to this effect. (4) In deliberating groups, shared information often dominates or crowds out unshared information, ensuring that groups do not learn what their members know. All four errors can be explained by reference to informational signals, reputational pressure, or both. A disturbing result is that many deliberating groups do not improve on, and sometimes do worse than, the predeliberation judgments of their average or median member.
(Image by flickr user clagnut and used under creative commons license)
Kimberly Kovach describes society's culture of right and wrong and how we don't have to think in those terms. We can resolve a conflict without determining who is right and...By Kimberlee Kovach
From John DeGroote's Settlement Perspectives In “Easier Said than Done: Early Case Assessments Part I” we defined an “Early Case Assessment program” as “a disciplined, proactive case management approach designed to...By John DeGroote