Decisions are fleeting; therefore organisations need methods for anchoring them in their memories. Decisions are also risky, because they tend towards errors and these have to be attributed. Lastly, decisions are endangered by the existing observer horizons and interest positions in organisations, because of over-hasty constraint.
Committees are suitable for ensuring that organisations know where decisions were made as well as for attributing the consequences of decisions in such a way that the individual person is not overburdened as decision-maker (search for a ‘guilty party’). In particular, different points of view, interests, knowledge, judgments, assessments of risk and distribution of dangers, can be incorporated into decision-making.
All these ‘capabilities’ are pre-destined to make the communication path ‘committees’ process complex questions and their inherent insecurities. The advantages imply the corresponding, and often bemoaned, disadvantages: slowness, micro-political influences in the immediate area, the ‘hiding’ of individuals behind the committee, false compromises, agreements on harmless measures, horse trading amongst members, decisions at the cost of those who are not represented in the committee etc.
The acceptance of committee decisions as well as the quality of the decisions, not least, depends upon a careful observation of the disadvantages named above, so that, if necessary, one can take counter measures and communicate appropriately to the situation. Committees often become deaf, complacent and entrenched if they do not reflect upon their shadow side.