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Agreement and Thinking Alike: Ingredients for Poor Decisions

Richard A. Cosier and Charles R. Schwenk
The Executive
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 69-74
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164934
Page Count: 6
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Agreement and Thinking Alike: Ingredients for Poor Decisions
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Abstract

People frequently believe that conflict is to be avoided in organizations. They think that meetings and decisions should reflect agreement and consensus. This article suggests that fostering disagreement in a structured setting may actually lead to better decisions. Two techniques for programming conflict into the decision-making process are suggested--the devil's advocate decision program (DADP) and the dialectic method (DM). In particular, evidence indicates that larger firms operating in uncertain environments benefit from encouraging structured conflict in decision-making. This article challenges managers to consider either the devil's advocate or dialectic methods to program conflict into important organizational decisions.

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