Organizational Group Discussion
Group discussion is a very common activity in business organizations. Working in groups—whether planning, organizing or executing—is now a regular feature of daily activity. Such group work facilitates sharing or pooling of information and knowledge, exchange of ideas, bringing ideas into focus, constructive rethinking, objective evaluation, decision-making, problem-solving and so on. Group discussion occurs also when the goal is to generate ideas or encourage creativity. Such sessions are known as brainstorming sessions.
Brainstorming is a joint effort and cooperative activity. Much more than other communication activities, it’s a we-oriented activity. It promotes and nurtures in the participants recognition of and respect to for each other’s weaknesses and strengths. It develops a give-and-take attitude. The participants move and mingle on an equal footing, sharing time and thought. Those who tend to dominate learn gradually to correct their weaknesses, and those who tend to be timid learn to shed their shells gradually. They gradually realize that monopolizing the discussion or being silent during discussion is detrimental to their growth and that of the organization.
This group work recognizes and exploits varied skills of the participants. Some are good at taking the lead, a few at listening, a few at analyzing, a few others at evaluating, and a few others at summarizing in between the discussion and bringing the topic back into focus while some others at closing the discussion.
In brainstorming, you and your colleagues from your department come together or you and your colleagues from other departments come together. The purpose is to generate (=produce/think of) ideas and solve problems for your company. In the G.D. as part of selection process you win and move to the interview stage, but here your company wins because you and your colleagues are thinking for the company. So, discussion characterizes this. Of course, someone has to lead the discussion with a brief description of the issue and its purpose. Then members participate freely offering thoughts, ideas, discussing pros and cons, and finally list what they think will work.
1. Don’t judge people or ideas.
2. Encourage freewheeling.
3. Welcome quality but expect quantity of ideas.
4. Think of and add more ideas to ideas already listed.
5. Clarify your doubts about ideas but don’t question them.
6. Enjoy the activity.
7. Have a facilitator [leader] and a recorder [one who records generated ideas]
Techniques for brainstorming
1. ‘Storyboarding’ is where group members identify major issues and generate solutions.
This technique is used to tackle complex problems.
2. ‘Lotus blossom’ is where group members take up a core problem and list out eight
ideas that are compared to the petals of a lotus. Then the members continue the
activity treating each idea as a core thought to be surrounded by eight ideas. This goes
on until members feel they have got a reasonable bunch of ideas.
3. In Nominal Group Technique, participants think about a given problem individually.
Once they are ready they move around individually presenting their thoughts
individually. These ideas are recorded on a flip chart or chalkboard. Then comes the
discussion stage. In the next stage, each member ranks the ideas. In the final stage, the
idea that has the highest support is accepted.
4. In the Delphi Technique, members operate individually but provide possible solutions
to a problem through a carefully designed questionnaire. The responses are recorded at
a central location and the members are provided a copy of the responses. Members go
through these responses and are likely to come up, in the process of selection, with
some new ones. Members are asked to repeat the last step as many times as necessary
until they reach a consensus.
For further information you can go to
If you click on each coloured subtitles under ‘Taking your brainstorming further’, new windows will open and you’ll get information about each of these approaches like the Stepladder Technique.
2. ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/chapter16_section4_main.aspx to read an article on
Techniques For Leading Group Discussions
d. interview skills and types, avoiding common mistakes