A Harvard Business Review article by Thomas H. Davenport takes an interesting look at why there seems to have been a slew of poor organizational decision making in recent years. Part of the problem, he points out, is that many businesses today still view decisions as “the prerogative of individuals – usually senior executives.”
Each month, AchieveGlobal hosts an online poll through our eNewsletter, Achieve. In October, our survey asked, “How would you describe your organization’s decision-making style?”
More than half of those who participated in the poll said that their organization’s decision-making style was participatory, where employees have a say, but one person makes all the decisions. Just over 20% of participants indicated that decision making in their organization was autocratic, with just one person making all decisions, with little input from others. Meanwhile just over 10% said their organizations are more democratic, and less than 10% pointed to consensus as their decision-making style.
The results of our poll are promising, pointing to a prevalence of participatory decision making.
The problem with autocratic decision making, as the HBR article points out, is that it doesn’t take into account the multifaceted nature of most successful decision making. More perspectives in the process of making decisions tend to increase the likelihood that all the necessary information -- like consideration of technology, organizational structure, methods and personnel -- is taken into consideration.
Autocratic decision making also doesn’t provide much benefit to the wider employee base. We know from research and experience that it’s crucial for organizations to encourage participation in decision making since it can help individual employees feel that they are a valuable part of the organization. When employees participate in decision making, they tend to feel more confident and capable of overcoming obstacles that they may encounter.
The participatory approach wins on so many levels: increasing the likelihood of decision-making success, and increasing employee empowerment and motivation.
To subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Achieve and participate in our regular polls, visit http://www.achieveglobal.com/research-and-resources/enewsletters.aspx