Majority Decision Making Works Best under Conditions of Leadership Ambiguity and Shared Task Representations
The effectiveness of decision-making teams depends largely on their ability to integrate and make sense of information. Consequently, teams which more often use majority decision making may make better quality decisions, but particularly so when they also have task representations which emphasize the elaboration of information relevant to the decision, in the absence of clear leadership. In the present study I propose that (a) majority decision making will be more effective when task representations are shared, and that (b) this positive effect will be more pronounced when leadership ambiguity (i.e. team members’ perceptions of the absence of a clear leader) is high. These hypotheses were put to the test using a sample comprising 81 teams competing in a complex business simulation for seven weeks. As predicted, majority decision making was more effective when task representations were shared, and this positive effect was more pronounced when there was leadership ambiguity. The findings extend and nuance earlier research on decision rules, the role of shared task representations, and leadership clarity.