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Nominal technical group

Nominal technical group

The nominal technical group ( NGT ) is a group process involving problem identification, solution generation, and decision making. [1] It can be used in groups of many sizes, who wants to make their decision quickly, but only by voting, but wanting everyone’s opinions taken into account. [2] The method of tallying is the difference. First, every member of the group gives their view of the solution, with a short explanation. Then, duplicate solutions are eliminated from the list of all solutions, and the members proceed to rank the solutions, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.

Some facilitators will encourage the sharing and discussion of the reasons for the choices made by each group, identifying common ground, and a plurality of ideas and approaches. This diversity often allows for the creation of a hybrid idea (a combination of two or more ideas).

In the basic method, the numbers are totaled, and the solution with the highest (ie most favored) total ranking is selected as the final decision. There are variations on how this technique is used. For example, it can identify strengths versus areas in need of development, rather than be used as a decision-making alternative. Also, options may not be more subjectively.

Technical Reviews This was Originally developed by Andre Delbecq and Andrew H. Van de Ven , [1] [3] and has-been applied to adult education program planning by Vedros, [4] and HAS aussi beens employed as a technical Useful in design and curriculum evaluation in educational institutions. [5] [6] [7] [8]


NGT has been shown to enhance one or more dimensions of effectiveness of decision-making groups. Requiring individuals to write down their ideas silently and independently. [1] [3] Round-robin polling also resulted in increased participation. [4] The increased number of heterogeneous inputs to high quality decisions. [9]

As compared to interacting groups, the NGT groups provide more unique ideas, more balanced participation between group members, and greater feelings of accomplishment. [10]

These findings are made up of a 1958 study [11] which, in the case of “creative groups”, “nominating groups” (whose members were actually working alone) produced by real, face-to-face groups. The ideas generated by the nominal and real groups were rated qualitatively and for originality, and the nominal groups scored higher on both of these measures.


The nominal group technique is particularly useful:

  • When some group members are much more vocal than others.
  • When some group members think better in silence.
  • When there is concern about some members not participating.
  • When the group does not easily generate quantities of ideas.
  • When are you new to the team?
  • When the issue is controversial or there is heated conflict.
  • When there is a power-imbalance between facilitator and participants or participants: the structure of the NGT session can balance these out.
  • When stakeholders like a (/ some) quantitative output of the process.

Standard procedure

Routinely, the NGT involves five internships:

  1. Introduction and explanation: The facilitator welcomes participants and explains to them the purpose and procedure of the meeting.
  2. Silent generation of ideas: The Facilitator provides each participant with a sheet of paper with the question to be addressed and ask them to write down the question. During this period, the facilitator asks participants not to consult or discuss their ideas with others. This stage lasts approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Sharing ideas: The Facilitator invites participants to share the ideas they have generated. He records each idea on a flip chart using the words spoken by the participant. The round robin process continues until all ideas have been presented. There is no debate on this topic and the participants are encouraged to do so. This process ensures all participants get an opportunity to make an equal contribution and provides a written record of all ideas generated by the group. This stage can take 15-30 minutes.
  4. Group discussion: Participants are invited to find out more about some of the ideas that people have made. The facilitator’s task is to ensure that everyone is allowed to contribute and that discussion of all ideas is thorough without spending too long on a single idea. It is important to ensure that the process is as neutral as possible. The group may be new items for discussion, but no ideas should be eliminated. This stage lasts 30-45 minutes.
  5. Voting and ranking: This involves prioritizing the recorded ideas in relation to the original question. Following the voting and ranking process, the results are available to the participants in the meeting.

The number of nominal meetings to be held will depend on the nature of the issue and accessibility to the key stakeholders.

Advantages and disadvantages

One major advantage of NGT is that it avoids two problems caused by group interaction. First, some members are reluctant to suggest ideas because they are concerned about being criticized, or are reticent and shy. Second, some members are reluctant to create conflict in groups. NGT overcomes these problems (eg [12] ). NGT has the clear advantage It can also, in many cases be a time-saving technique. Other advantages include providing a large number of ideas and providing a sense of closure.

A major disadvantage of NGT is that the method lacks flexibility by being able to deal with a problem. Also, there must be a certain amount of conformity in the NGT. Everyone must feel comfortable with the amount of structure involved. Another disadvantage is the amount of time needed to prepare for the activity. There is no spontaneous involvement with this method. Facilities must be arranged and carefully planned. Opinions may not converge in the voting process, cross-fertilization of ideas may be constrained, and the process may appear to be too mechanical.

This section needs expansion . You can help by adding to it . (June 2010)

One of the key issues about ‘nominal’ group technique is that it does not depend on normal group processes. It is a method to work with a collection of people and involves them in decision making. This article is about the originators an advantage in making using this tool.

Adaptation for ill-structured problems

Modification of NGT, carried out by Bartunek and Murnighan, [13] helps to deal with ill-structured problems. Normal ideas are generated and listed, followed by the facilitator questioning if the ideas are relevant to the same problem. If not, the problem is said to be ill-structured, and the ideas generated are clustered into coherent groups. These clusters of ill-structured ideas are then treated in their own right, and the NGT procedure is applied to them. Regular breaks are taken by the participants to ensure that the group feels they are still working on the original problem.

See also

  • Brainstorming
  • Creativity techniques
  • Creative problem solving
  • Delphi method
  • Group decision making
  • Social choice theory
  • Voting system
  • Voting paradox

Further reading

  • George & Cowan. Handbook of Techniques for Formative Evaluation. Falmer / KP. 1999. ISBN  978-0-7494-3063-4
  • Nancy R. Tague (2004) The Quality Toolbox , Second Edition, ASQ Quality Press, pp. 364-365.
  • Potter, M; Gordon, S; Hamer, P (2004). “The Nominal Technical Group: A useful consensus methodology in physiotherapy research”. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy . 32 (3): 126-130.
  • Jon Neal Gresham (1986). “Expressed Satisfaction with the Nominal Technical Group Among Change Agents” . PhD thesis, Texas A & M University,
  • Stewart, David W. & Shamdasani, Prem N. Focus Groups: Theory and Practice . Sage Publications. 2004. ISBN  978-0-8039-3390-3
  • Totikidis, Vicky (2010). “Applying the Nominal Technical Group (NGT) in Community Based Action Research for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention” (PDF) . The Australian Community Psychologist . 22 (1): 18-29.
  • Varga-Atkins, T; McIsaac, J; Bunyan, N. & Fewtrell, R (2011) Using the nominal group technique with clickers to research student experiences of e-learning: a project report. Written for the ELESIG Small Grants Scheme. Liverpool: University of Liverpool. [1]


  1. ^ Jump up to:c Delbecq, AL; VandeVen, A. H (1971). “A Group Process Model for Problem Identification and Program Planning”. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science . 7 : 466-91. doi : 10.1177 / 002188637100700404 .
  2. Jump up^ Dunnette, M D .; Campbell, J. D .; Jaastad, K. (1963). “The Effect of Group Participation on Brainstorming Effectiveness for Two Industrial Samples”. Journal of Applied Psychology . 47 : 30-37. doi : 10.1037 / h0049218 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Delbecq AL Vandeven AH, DH and Gustafson (1975). “Group techniques for program planning: a guide to nominal group and Delphi processes”, Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman and Company.
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Vedros KR, (1979). “The Nominal Technical Group is a Participatory, Planning Method In Adult Education”, Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, Tallahassee.
  5. Jump up^ O’Neil, MJ; Jackson, L. (1983). “Nominal Technical Group: A process for initiating curriculum development in higher education”. Studies in Higher Education . 8 (2): 129-138. doi : 10.1080 / 03075078312331378994 .
  6. Jump up^ Chapple, M .; Murphy, R. (1996). “The Nominal Group Technique: Extending the assessment of students’ teaching and learning experiences”. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education . 21 (2):. 147-160 doi : 10.1080 / 0260293960210204 .
  7. Jump up^ Lomax, P .; McLeman, P. (1984). “The uses and abuses of the nominal group technique in polytechnic course evaluation”. Studies in Higher Education . 9 (2): 183-190. doi : 10.1080 / 03075078412331378834 .
  8. Jump up^ Lloyd-Jones, Fowell; Bligh (1999). “The use of an evaluative tool in medical undergraduate education”. Medical Education . 33 (1): 8-13. doi :10.1046 / j.1365-2923.1999.00288.x .
  9. Jump up^ Gustafson, DH; Shukla, RK; Delbecq, AL; Walster, GW (1973). “A comparative study of differences in subjective likelihood estimates made by individuals, interacting groups, Delphi groups, and nominal groups”. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance . 9 (2): 280-291. doi :10.1016 / 0030-5073 (73) 90052-4 .
  10. Jump up^ VandeVen, A. H; Delbecq, AL (1974). “The Effectiveness of Nominal, Delphi, and Interacting Group Decision Making Processes”. The Academy of Management Journal . 17 (4): 605-621. doi : 10.2307 / 255641 .
  11. Jump up^ Taylor, DW; Berry, PC; Block, CH (1958). “Does group participation when using brainstorming facilitate or inhibit creative thinking?”. Administrative Sciences Quarterly . 3 : 23-47. doi : 10.2307 / 2390603 .
  12. Jump up^ Chapple, M .; Murphy, R. (1996). “The Nominal Technical Group: extending the evaluation of students’ teaching and learning experiences”. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education . 21 (2): 147-160. doi :10.1080 / 0260293960210204 .
  13. Jump up^ Bartunek, JM; Murnighan, JK (1984). “The nominal technical group: Expanding the basic procedure and underlying assumptions”. Group and Organization Studies . 9 : 417-432. doi : 10.1177 / 105960118400900307 .