Committee system in Management

Recently updated on April 13th, 2023 at 06:21 pm

Committee is not a separate organization as such. It is just an extended idea of line and staff system. Under this system, instead of a single officer acting in advisory capacity, there is a committee of experts for advice and guidance in business planning and execution. These committees play a wider role in the management of plant organization and are found at all levels of management hierarchy. But in medium sized undertakings, they are found only at top level.

These committees are basically set up for the following purposes:

  • With the exchange of these ideas, some suggestions and recommendations can be generated that may prove useful for the organization.
  • The committees are good for a where organizational members freely exchange ideas.
  • The existing problems in the organization can be discussed within the committee forum and some new ideas for solving these problems can be introduced.
  • Some committees are formed to assist in the development and establishment of organizational policies.

Principle characteristics of a committee

Important characteristics of Committees are that they are delegated definite responsibility and authority for doing a specific job, such as reviewing budgets, formulating plans for new products, making policy decisions on wages and salary and compensation plans. Others may only have the power to make recommendations and suggestions to a designated official.

  1. A committee is a gathering of people representing different functions or spheres of knowledge, who come together to promote a common purpose or fulfill a common task or solve a problem, by interchanging of views.
  2. The character and composition of a committee is often spelled out in the bylaws or administrative procedures of the company.
  3. A committee usually has a fixed membership. In most cases, members are appointed, although sometimes, as with the board of directors, they may be elected.
  4. In its deliberations, a committee usually follows certain definite written rules and procedures. Some committees can function if a quorum is complete; others only if all the members are present.
  5. A committee may be granted authority to make or recommend decisions, or it may serve merely in an advisory capacity.

Advantages of Committee Organization

In all types of social institutions whether business or non-business, committees are found to exist in different areas and at different fields of the organization. The reasons for constituting such committees can be outlined as follows:

  1. Fear of Authority

If too much functional authority is delegated to a single person, there is always a fear that the authority may be misused. Committees avoid undue concentration of authority in the hands of an individual or a few.

  1. Group Deliberation and Judgement

It is the general rule that “two heads are better than one“. Since the committees comprise of various people with wide experience and diverse training, they can think the impact of the problems from various angles and can find out appropriate solutions. Such decisions are bound to be more appropriate than individual decisions.

  1. Representation of interested Group

A policy decision may affect the interests of different sections. The committees provide an opportunity to represent their interest to the top management for consideration. This will facilitate the management to make a balanced decision.

  1. Transmission of Information

Committees serve as a best medium to transmit information since they generally comprise of the representatives of various sections. Misinterpretation is almost avoided.

  1. Coordination of Functions

They are highly useful in bringing co-ordination between different managerial functions.

  1. Consolidation of Authority

Many special problems arising in individual departments cannot be solved by the departmental managers. The committees, on the other hand, permits the management to consolidate authority which is spread over several departments.

  1. Avoidance of Action

The committee system also helps the manager who wants to postpone or avoid action. By referring the complicated matters to the committees, the managers can delay the action.

  1. Motivation through Participation

Managerial decisions cannot be put into action without the co-operation of the operating personnel. Since the committees provide an opportunity for them to participate in the decision-making, the management can gain their confidence and co-operation.

  1. Educational Value

Participation in committee meetings provides a beautiful ground for development of young executives. Through observation, exchange of information and cross examination, the young executives can broaden their knowledge and sharpen their understanding.

Disadvantages of Committees

The committees also have their own defects. Considering the dangers involved in the use of committees, a few authorities went to the extent of giving a sarcastic definition to the committee as “group of unfits engaged by unwilling to do unnecessary”. In particular, the committees suffer from the following demerits

  1. Indecisive Action

In many cases, committees are unable to take any constructive decision because of the differences of opinions among their members.

  1. High Cost in Time and Money

Committees take a lot of time to take a decision. The prolonged sessions of the committee results in a high expenditure. Generally speaking, committees are constituted only to avoid or postpone decisions. Hence, delay in decision has become an inherent feature of committees.

  1. Compromising Attitude

In reality, many decisions taken by a committee are not the result of joint thinking and collective judgements. But they are only compromises reached between the various members Hence, the decisions of the committees are not real decisions in the strict sense.

  1. Suppression of Ideas

Many smart members who can contribute new ideas, deliberately keep their mouth shut in order to avoid hard feelings.

  1. Dominance of a Few

Collective thinking and group judgement are only in theory but not in practice. The decisions of the committees are generally the decisions of the chairman or any strong dominant members.

  1. Splitting of Responsibilities

The greatest disadvantage of this system is the splitting of authority among the committee members. When authority is split up, no one in particular can be held responsible for the outcome of the committee.

  1. Political Decisions

Since the committee decisions are influenced by the dominant members, the decisions of the committee cannot be taken as meritorious one with broader outlook.

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