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What Bees Tell Us About Making Better Decisions

By Harvey Mackay, contributing writer and Philadelphia Business Journal
|  Monday, May 26, 2014  |  Updated 8:45 AM EDT
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Do you have a tough decision to make? Or are you trying to build consensus among other employees? If so, you might want to follow the way bees make their decisions, because according to researchers, human beings can learn volumes from bees when it comes to making group decisions.

Cornell University biologist Thomas Seely, in a Cornell Chronicle Online story by Susan S. Lang, explains how bees build coalitions until a quorum develops. Seely says bees rely on disagreement and contest, whereas humans often rely on consensus and compromise.

Researchers know the bees make excellent decisions because they set up situations that offered choices to the bees, some superior for bees and others not so great. The bees almost always chose the superior sites.

A swarm of perhaps 10,000 honeybees decides where their next new home is going to be by sending out a few hundred scouts to look at real estate. If one finds a site it likes a lot, it begins dancing, which is the scout’s way of advertising the site to other scouts. Then the scout will revisit the site frequently and dance all day. Read more about this story on PBJ.com.

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