Does group size affect decision-making accuracy?

This blog offers an interesting perspective on the usefulness of collective decisions. My question is — are decisions made by small groups “accurate” to begin with? Decisions are leadership moments, changes or corrections in the course of a team or organization. In human dynamics, and especially in leadership dynamics, accuracy is about making the best guess. So it seems we need to decide situationally whether a large team of deciders will help or hinder the decision we need to make. Interesting….

The Executive's & Entrepreneur's Magazine

© Photographer: Arne9001

The trope that the likelihood of an accurate group decision increases with the abundance of brains involved might not hold up when a collective faces a variety of factors — as often happens in life and nature. Instead, Princeton University researchers report that smaller groups actually tend to make more accurate decisions while larger assemblies may become excessively focused on only certain pieces of information.

The findings present a significant caveat to what is known about collective intelligence, or the “wisdom of crowds,” wherein individual observations — even if imperfect — coalesces into a single, accurate group decision. A classic example of crowd wisdom is English statistician Sir Francis Galton’s 1907 observation of a contest in which villagers attempted to guess the weight of an ox. Although not one of the 787 estimates was correct, the average of the guessed weights was a mere one-pound short of…

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