What is Group Discussion?
"Group" is a collection of individuals who have regular contact and frequent interaction and who work together to achieve a common set of goals. "Discussion" is the process whereby two or more people exchange information or ideas in a face-to-face situation to achieve a goal. The goal, or end product, maybe increased knowledge, agreement leading to action, disagreement leading to competition or resolution or perhaps only a clearing of the air or a continuation of the status-quo.
"Group Discussion", popularly labeled as GD, is a methodology used by an organization (company, institute, business school, etc.) to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits. GDs form an important part of the short-listing process for recruitment or admission in a company or institution. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, typically given some time to think about the same, and then asked to discuss it among themselves for a specific duration (which may vary from one organization to another). As in a football game, where you play like a team, passing the ball to each team member and aim for a common goal, GD is also based on teamwork, incorporating views of different team members to reach a common goal.
So, a group discussion refers to a communicative situation that allows its participants to share their views and opinions with other participants. It is a systematic exchange of information, views and opinions about a topic, problem, issue or situation among the members of a group who share some common objectives.
Why is a "GD" conducted?
Organizations conduct GDs to find out whether you possess the critical qualities/skills to contribute effectively to the goal accomplishment process. Group Discussions are held because business management is essentially a group activity and working with groups is the most important parameter of being successful as a manager. Apart from that, the candidates are evaluated on the basis of their communication skills, knowledge, leadership skills, listening skills, conceptualizing ability, etc.
A GD helps to achieve group goals as well as individual goals. The examiner can evaluate both the personality traits and group skills of candidates participating in a G.D. It is basically a situation test wherein a sample of a candidate’s group worthiness and potential as a worker comes out quite explicitly.