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Group Problem Solving Paper

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Group Problem Solving 1

Group Problem Solving.

COM 102

Mr. Gary Levin

February 22, 2003

Word Count: 1496

Group Problem Solving 2

Group Problem Solving


Work groups are formed for many purposes. The most common purpose is to solve problems. The logistics of fund raising, event planning, project development, as well as the overall direction of a business can be decided by work groups. In general groups are more efficient at solving problems than individuals. The main reason for this is that a group of people can provide more insight, experience, and vision to any problem. Not only can members of a group provide a broader perspective on an issue. But, members can often spot flaws that may have been overlooked by an individual. There are drawbacks to group problem solving. Working with a group almost always takes more time. Gaining consensus of a group can be tedious process. Social problems, procedural issues and personality differences within a group can cause problems in a work group. Group problem solving is best employed in certain situations such as when there are several different options of appropriate solutions to a problem and the best one is needed.

Groups that using systematic procedures solve problems more effectively and have higher quality discussions than groups that do not use systematic procedures. Following a structured procedure prevents a group from forgetting important issues on the way to a solution. An effective problem solving process starts with an appropriate discussion question, includes an explicit discussion of the criteria the group will use to judge potential solutions, and follows a systematic problem solving procedure. (Pearson, Nelson, Titsworth, & Harter p.287)

There are three basic types of discussion questions, questions of fact, questions of value and questions of policy. Questions of fact deal with thing that are true or can be verified. Questions of value deal with whether something is good or bad. Individual values and beliefs

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are very important to questions of value. And finally, there are questions of policy. These questions ask what action should be taken. Well-stated discussion questions should be clear and measurable. They should give each group member the same meaning and focus on the problem not the solution. Clarity in the terms used in the question is imperative abstract terms should be avoided.

The criteria are the standards by which a group must use to judge potential solutions. (Pearson, Nelson, Titsworth, & Harter p.290) a solutions likely effectiveness, acceptability and cost are commonly used criteria. Early in the problem solving process the group should discuss and agree upon the criteria before adopting a solution. The make up a group can greatly effect how easy it will be to agree on criteria. The two most common types of criteria are absolute criteria and important criteria. Absolute criteria are goals that must be met by a solution. Ideas that do not meet the absolute criteria cannot be used. Important criteria are those that should be met with these the group has some flexibility

The identification of alternatives is one of the most important tasks the leader of a work group must accomplish. This is probably the most creative stage in the problem solving process. A technique called brainstorming is very effective in getting the ideas on paper. The goal in this technique is to collect as many thoughts as possible and to sort them out later. There is no evaluation of the ideas during this process. Brainstorming works best with a cohesive group. The next task is to evaluate the ideas. Solutions failing to meet absolute criteria are quickly discarded. All others are rated based on their adherence to the remaining criteria. Though this process the best possible solution may be reached.


The problem that to be addressed was the maintenance and inspection of biomedical

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Equipment used for patient care in the hospital. Bio-medical equipment is any machine of device used in patient care. The importance of the maintenance of such equipment is the safety of the patient. Guidelines for the inspection and maintenance of bio-medical equipment have been established by several regulatory agencies such as the JCAHO. JCAHO standards require bio-medical equipment be inspected by a qualified bio-medical engineer prior to its use. An outside contractor performs these inspections. The specific issue is that equipment is being found the patient care areas without being inspected. The Risk Manager facilitated



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