Problem

Inadequacy of the committee system of decision making

Nature:
The number and gravity of technical policy decisions to be taken has brought with it a multiplication of committees: faced with an awkward problem, the appointment of a committee is a means of obtaining a variety of views and of evading or postponing a political responsibility. But the difficulty under modern conditions is that, if a subject is so profuse and complex that it cannot be assimilated by a single human intellect, setting up a committee superimposes a new layer of problems arising from the mere existence of the new body, and multiplies the difficulty of comprehension by the members of the committee.

In large administrations, the committee system prevents the formulation of sound policy decisions. At the committee level, as at the national level, the assemblage of a group of constituents who not only possess different departmental interests but also differing bases of information as well as different individual approaches, results, after the benefits which certainly flow from the dialectical process have been obtained, not in an optimum decision in the light of processed facts, but in a compromise arrived at in the light of what different members of the group be. Thus many modern technical problems, instead of being solved or improved by a compromise, are merely aggravated by it. The committee, used in conjunction with existing 'vertically' structured administrative and decision-making machinery, is thus as much a hindrance as an aid.

Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET