Tuesday, July 17, 2007


GROUP discussions are used by the B-schools as a selection tool because they provide a lot of useful information about the candidate’s personality in a very short time. GDs are used to assess certain group skills that cannot be evaluated in an interview situation. These skills include leadership skills, social skills, listening and articulation skills, situation handing ability and interpersonal ability. A typical GD involves 8 to 12 participants sitting in a circle or semicircle discussing a topic for a stipulated time, usually for 15 to 20 minutes. Most GDs follow one of the three formats: Structured, Unstructured, or Specialized.
1. Regular Structured GDs: Here the time limits and topic is defined. No consensus expected at the end. No leader is to be selected for facilitating the process. These are easier to handle. Topics chosen are usually general and do not require technical knowledge.
2. Unstructured GDs: Choosing a leader is mandatory and the group has to reach a consensus at the end of the GD. The leader has to direct the group, set the tone for discussion and control the dynamics of the group. Things are sometimes made more complicated by asking the group to propose a topic, discuss it and reach a consensus.
3. specialised GDs: These include role-plays or scripted GDs where the candidates are given a certain brief about a role that they need to play. For example, a business situation where to companies are negotiating a deal may be used. Candidates would be given the profile of the two CEOs, marketing managers, HR managers, advisors, and a neutral entity like a consultant. Alternatively, candidates could be given the role of the five Pandavas and the main Kauravas negotiating the distribution of their kingdom in 20th century setting.

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