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Committees and Group Decision Making

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  6,742 Words (27 Pages)  •  3,359 Views

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Committees and Group Decision Making


1 Explain the nature of various types of committees.

2 Outline the reasons why committees and groups are used, especially their use in decision mak¬ing.

3 Present the disadvantages of committees, especially in decision mak¬ing.

4 Explain the nature of plural executives and how and where they are likely to be used.

5 Outline the ways committees tend to be misused.

6 Discuss the requirements for using committees effectively.

7 Describe the advantages and disadvantages of small groups other than committees in managing.

One of the most ubiquitous and controversial devices of organization is the committee. Whether it is referred to as a "board," "commission," "task force," or "team," its essential nature is the same, for the committee is a group of persons to whom, as a group, some matter is committed. Its right purpose can result in greater motivation, improved problem solving, and increased output.

In a study of subscribers to the Harvard Business Review, only 8 percent of the respondents indicated that they would eliminate committees if it were within their power. The problem, then, is not the existence of committees, but rather the way they are conducted and where they are used.


Because of varying authority assigned to committees, much confusion has resulted as to their nature. Some committees undertake managerial functions, and others do not. Some make decisions; others merely deliberate on problems without authority to decide. Some have authority to make recommendations to a manager, who may or may not accept them, while others are formed purely to receive information, without making recommendations or decisions.

A committee may be either line or staff, depending upon its authority. If its authority involves decision making affecting subordinates responsible to it, it is a plural executive—a line committee; if its authority relationship to a superior is advisory, then it is a staff committee.

Committees may also be formal or informal. If established as part of the organization structure, with specifically delegated duties and authority, they are formal. Most committees with any permanence fall into this class. Or they may be informal, that is, organized without specific delegation of authority and usually by some person desiring group thinking or group decision on a particular problem. This kind of motivation, plus the occasional need for gathering together in one room all the authority available to deal with


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