How a group reaches agreement: a stochastic model

F. P. Kelly

Mathematical Social Sciences, 2 (1981), 1-8.

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A stochastic model is presented which describes how a group of individuals might come to agree about an issue upon which the members of the group initially hold different opinions. The model allows the power of an individual to be defined in terms of the probability that he will be able to persuade the group to accept his initial opinion and shows how the power of an individual is related to the patterns of influence and communication which exist within the group. The extent to which the organisational structure of a group can affect the time taken to reach agreement is illustrated.

Keywords: Group decision making; Power of an individual; Organisational structure; Markov process; Consensus

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