Decision Making Process in an Organization – Committees System



The use of the committee system of reaching decision is not new in the public and private sector organization in Nigeria. A study of Nigerian establishments shows that 78% of the organizations studies reported the existence of one committee or the other.

We are familiar with such term as executive, advisory, legislative standing and adhoc committee that exist in most public and private sector of organizations as tools for decision making.

Although, most decision in organizations are made after consultation with those member of that organisation who have the special knowledge or experience relating to the problem at hand or after consultation with those whose advice is considered valuable, the highly specialized managerial skills to arrive at the best solution to complex and sensitive organizational problems.

But there have been some negative controversies as to the justification of the use of those specialized managerial skills which can only be provided by committees. Many people see committee especially in government owned establishment.

(a) Time consuming

(b) Very expensive

(c) Usually composed by unqualified personnel.

(d) A group of people whose decision is most often a compromise.

(e) A means through which executives hide their inefficiency.

On the other hand, opponents of this view state that the committee system has the advantage of producing excellent judgment through combined ideas that the development of personnel sense of judgment creating the chance of greater acceptance of ideas etc.

Thus there is a need for a balanced to be struck between the demerits and merits of employing the committee system as tool for reaching decisions in order to effectively develop and utilize them in future for optimum results. Because of the extensive use of committee system by the government parastatals.


The committee have some disadvantages and problems, those include the time spent to arrive at a generally acceptable decision. Committee is most often not consumerate to the benefits derivable from their use. It is a fact that it will cost an organization more to maintain several people working on the same problem than if it were one person.

Another problem is on the educational and technical qualification of the members of the committee especially in public sector enterprises in criticized on grounds of poor qualifications of members.

Moreover, critics that most committees decision are compromise decision. This is collaborated by a study of the public service which showed that 55% of the respondents were of the view that committees were guarantee doubts for making decisions. All these generate doubts as to the effectiveness of the committee system of decision making.


This is empirical research work which has the purpose of investigating into the use of committee in decision making. As a result of the effectiveness and limitations of its use, it can be determined and suggestions made on how best to use the system for making decision. Specifically the study has the following objectives:

To ascertain policy towards the use of committees, and to identify problems inherent in committee system of the organization. To examine the method used in appointing members into committees at a company. To find out how staff of a company perceive the committee system of that organization. To offer suggestions on how the company’s committee system could be improved to properly function as an effective tool for achieving better decision.


This empirical research will be useful to the management of all organizations especially those that use committee for making decisions.

It would also be of most significance to the government owned companies which make extensive use of committees.

Finally, the study would serve as a background for further studies and a resource for scholars and other researchers who might be interested in the subject area.

Once the purpose for which this committee automatically stands dissolved, standing committees is formed and established by some organizations and to which duties are assigned from time to time, some companies or organizations established standing committees in different facts of operation.


COMMITTEE: Body appointed to discharge special function by body including representatives of separate appointing bodies, sitting of member of the whole house, house of parliament sitting to discuss details of committed bill or can be defined as also person whom charge of lunatic is committed.

EXECUTIVE: Concerned with execution especially of laws and sentence and also a branch of government.

DECISION: Act of deciding, settlement of an issue, conclusion come to or resolve made, decisiveness of mind or deciding an issue or contribution to a battle or superiority.

LEGISLATIVE: Executive specially or describing of about the people that make law.

ORGANISATION: Organised body or system of society

CONSULTATION: Take counsel or seeking information or advice from person or book.




Today, well over hundred computerized and non-computerized business management games also known as business simulation are in use in a growing number of universities and business across the country.

Since the introduction as an educational tool in 195 by the (AMA) American Management Association considerable progress has been made in the advancement of this methodological approach to development in the decision making capabilities of individual’s preparation to themselves to assume managerial responsibility and the practicing executive. Mr. F. C. Richardietal is the one who wrote Top Management Decision.

The AMA Approach (New York American Management Association, 1957). However, the early methods of exposing trainees to the job of top executive largely were limited to describing what management executives did and what they should do.



A committee may be defined as a group of people appointed by some other generally larger body or bodies to meet and discuss matters decision within some field of reference with a view to make group decisions or recommendation to the parent body.

In Schwartz own definition, he defined a committee as a group of persons asked to consider or investigate and report an act and some matter. Schwartz also stated further that the committee may equally be referred to as either a task force, comment, board, agency or commission. Dale defined a committee as a group of people usually not more than can sit around the table which make decision or parents view points and whose conduct is governed by a set of rules.

Williams Glueck and Chas Adams also defined committees as a group of two or more persons created to serve a particular purpose, make a decision or a recommendation. Schein also classified committees as formal groups which are created to fulfill specific task that are clearly related to the total organization mission. Schein also classified the formal groups.

A permanent committee is an example of permanent formal group while committee to carry out a particular job and get dissolved once the job is accomplished are temporary formal groups.

Nwachukwu distinguished between the permanent and Ad hoc Committees. The committees that is empowered to meet regularly to discuss and act on general problems (present and future problems) affecting their operations, he called a permanent committee while those that are appointed to study and offer solutions to a specific organizational problem, he called the ad hoc committee is dissolved once their assignment is completed.


According to Richard M. Hodgetts, A committee has knowledge, experience and judgment than any on individual alone. When an organization focuses the attention of a committee on a particular problem, the result is often a solution superior to that which could be obtained from anyone member working independently.

Committees are also useful in a co-ordinating plan and transmitting information for example in the implementation of major programme. Many departments may be involved and a committee can help each other to see where it fits in the overall plan. Most formal organization have committee because of the realization that the concentration of task on one individual does not make efficient and effective control.

Another school of thought is C.T. Handwick and B. F. Landuyt who said that the committee can bring together people of varying views and ability and so its product may be better than that made possible by an individual endeavour. That is by gathering some committees that have different ideas and ability and those ideas will be shared at the gathering place so that their product may be better than that made possible by an individual endeavour.

That the resort to a committee may give the administrators a greater reputation for seriousness of purpose and comprehensiveness of efforts since it suggests that he or they are trying to supplement their own ability. They equaled supported the idea that committees is a fine committees is a fine communication centre and a means of educating some members.

The function of committee system therefore, is primarily to the top management decision making process. It helps to tackle problems of large scale and complex operations by inputs from major sections of the organization with specialists and experts contributing their knowledge and points of view.

Many large progressive organization have employed the group decision making process in solving their problems. This method has been found to produce greater satisfaction among employees as it eliminates cause of employees discontent. Different interest groups participate in the decision making committees which make it possible in some situations of management and employees or labour union representatives to meet on the basis of equality to determine the best way to solve problems of mutual interest. Decisions arrived at is usually acceptable to both sides.

Peter F. Drucker expressed the doubt whether the successful business concerns ever used the one man accepts. After considering certain duties like the formulation of objective and preparation of financial plans, he disagreed with the idea of a one man chief executive being capable of making decision alone.


In selecting the members of a committee, the administrators should always be guided by the basic principles that the mere fact of association will not assure the success of the committee. The suggestion in the methods of studying the problem is that members of committee should be the type of people who have acquired the basic formal education and the degree of education should be dependent on the responsibilities of the committees.

Professor C. C. Nwachukwu expressed that the view of effective use of committees in the solution of organization problems depends on the selection of the right people to serve in the committee. He therefore suggested that the selection of members of a committee should be based on qualifications such as knowledge of the subject matters to be assigned to the committee interests, responsibility, availability and emotional maturity.

Glueck said that selecting members who are informed and who can act in a conscientious and reasonable manner. Another suggestion is getting a clear definition of the committee’s responsibility and authority.


In summary of this chapter, a lot of things were reviewed by different authors concerning about the use of committees in organizational decision making. Like some definitions by the authors in committee, they gave the different meanings of their own view concerning about committee.

Some contributed that committees as a group of persons asked to consider or investigate an act and some matter. Some thoughts in relevant to the problem states that when an organization focuses the attention of a committee on a particular problem the result is often a solution superior to that which could be obtained from anyone member working independently.

Then in suggesting in different ways of studying the problem, Professor C. C. Nwachukwu expressed that the view of effective use of committee in the solution of organization problems depends on the selection of the right people to serve in the committees and selection on the committee should be based on qualifications.

Finally, Glueck said that selecting members who are informed and who can act in a conscientious and reasonable manner.



The data for this research will come from one principal sources and that is secondary data and oral interviews were also used as subsidiary instrument for data collection.

Some key personnel who have been members of one committee or another were selected and interviewed and the data to be presented goes like this.

Do decisions made by committees involve the same time as that made by single officers?

– Which method involves more time?

– Do organizations consider the qualification of people before appointing them.

– A respondents have ever served in any committee.

– The cause of non-inclusion in committee.

– Criteria usually adopted for selecting committee members.

– Does committee decision result from compromise.

– How problem of indecision is usually resolved.



Data collected for this study was classified into different groups with the aid of tables. Statistical methods involving contingency tables are presented and results were made use in the analysis of data so also the result were used to answer the central research questions. Like question one which says does committee decision involve organizations in higher expenses of time, money and human resources than the decision made single by individual officers?

All the respondent answered yes in the question that goes whether committee are used in the company for decision making. Then in able 1, 98 respondents answered No, the remaining 17 answered yes and the total is 115. Then in Table II asked whether organizational consider the qualification of people before appointing them to serve in committee.

Then out of the 115 respondents, 69 persons answered that they have at one time or the other been members of one committee or the other. All the 12 respondents who are senior staff answered yes and 14 of intermediate staff also answered yes.

Furthermore, the researcher asked the respondents to state the criteria that is usually used by the company for selecting committee members, 38 respondents represent states that education, experience/skill and friendship cliques of the staff respectively is the criteria usually adopted by the management in selecting members and table three which asked whether committee decision result from compromise, 79 respondents answered yes while 36 respondents answered no, making it the total of 115.

In how problems of indecision are usually resolved is gotten through 61 people that compromise and 18 people that has no decision.


Committees have their advantages and disadvantages. It is important that every organization weigh these advantages with the one of the disadvantages before deciding for or against the use of committee in reaching decisions. Based on the above broad statement, the following specific recommendations are made:

– That for effective performance by committees, the responsibilities of a committee should be clearly stated. This means clearly assigning responsibility to each member of the committee and to all members of a group. This will help make them more accountable for their actions.

– That committee membership should be restricted to candidates who possess the capability qualifications and experience/skill required for the committee assignment.

– That information on issues for discussion in committee meetings be prepared and handed over to members before the meeting. This will help to put members on a working mood before the meeting.

– Finally, that management should develop strategies to ensure reductions in the time money and material resources spent on committees and the more research work should be done on the subject to determine other measures that can be taken to make committee more efficient.


Having investigated the use of committees system in decision making, the researcher hereby draws the following conclusions:

– That the view which states that organizations do not consider the capability/qualification experience and skill of candidates before appointing them to serve in committee.

– That the decisions made through the committee system involve organization in higher experience of resources than those made by individual officers.

– That the view which states that committee decision results from compromise when there is problem of indecision. These conclusions were drawn from the analysis of data obtained from the respondents. The committee system has been found to produce sound decision based on the principles of joint experience, skill and judgment.

The system should, therefore, used when it is beneficial to an organization.

Therefore, the literature review and oral information obtained from respondents have revealed that the time, money, material, resources spent on committees could be effectively minimized. If these costs are minimized, the views that are worth the time, money, and material spent on committees will be better realized.