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Participation in Decisions

Being able to take part in decision-making – catchword democratisation – is generally considered desirable. The reasons why the participation of many people is seen as favourable, are numerous: one reckons with better decisions, with less ill-considered side effects, with more motivation in the participants, with more acceptance of the decision and with more determination in the implementation. Of course, this is all correct, or it can be.

However, in organisations (and beyond) the circumstances are not so unambiguous and simple. Participatory forms of decision-making always consume time, too. The reality of time constraints becomes a problem, because by the time everyone has been asked or have agreed, the deadline for the decision has already passed. Even the assumption that people, per se, have an interest in participation must be differentiated: it can be dangerous to be involved in a decision, because one can be made responsible and accountable. Feelings of overload in decision-making and corresponding avoidance movements, adaptation to the majority, awkwardness, refusal etc. come into play. There is always a potential for conflict, so that the unilateral assumption that participation leads to agreement in the group of decision-makers is only one variant of that which one can observe.

Therefore, organisations (and not only them) always require limitations and stopping rules for the participation of positions and functions in decision-making processes as well.

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