Participative Decision Making

As the most popular decision making process used by leaders, participative decision making can be quite useful for a number of reasons. The main reason as to why individuals enjoy the collective/participative decision making process is due to the fact that all members of the party are included in the decision making process. This means that everyone has the ability to provide their input to determine what the best course of action is. With that being said, participative decision making can be a great tool for workplace environments and even for families at home.

The Brainstorming Process

The main purpose of participative decision making is that it enables every individual of a group to provide their own insight into a situation. Every piece of input is equally valuable as the next, which is what helps to promote the brainstorming components to decision making. Alongside the members of the group, the leader also provides their input but it does not hold any more weight than anyone else’s ideas. Therefore, every person in the group feels equally included. When it is time for a decision to be made, the leader will make the decision to ensure that they are able to maintain a high level of control, though they take everyone’s opinions into account. Participative decision making also puts leaders in a risky position due to the fact that since they are choosing the best solution, they are solely responsible for the outcome of the decision.

The Detriments of Participative Decision Making

As with every type of decision making there are pros and cons. The detriments associated with participative decision making relate mostly to the time consuming nature of this process. Considering that every individual will be required to provide their input, it can be relatively lengthy. It also opens lines of communication between each individual so that the party can debate each other’s points and negate the relevance of specific topics.

It is also important to consider that participative decision making is the least advantageous decision making style if you are looking to maintain a high level of secrecy and security about a specific problem or situation. Since you will be including every person in the group in the decision making process, you will be sharing information with a large group of people. The more people know, the more likely they are to talk about it with others. Therefore if you are working on a sensitive matter, it may be advantageous to consider another type of decision making.

The Importance of Keeping Control

Although in participative decision making the leader includes the opinions and thoughts of others in their group, it is imperative that they keep control of the group to establish their leadership role. Unlike different processes such as consensus decision making, the leader must be the one who makes the final decision. Essentially they will review all of the information and data that they collected from the other participants and use this information to make the best decision. The reason as to why it is important for the leader to maintain a heightened position is because of the at-fault factor. When a project fails in the workplace, it is necessary to have someone to blame – generally it is the leader. Per the participative decision method, if a leader makes a faulty decision, it is the leader’s full responsibility.

Considering Participant Backgrounds

Another reason as to why a variety of different individuals and businesses use participative decision making is because it is incredibly useful for groups comprised of individuals from different backgrounds. As an example, if a decision making group has engineers, stakeholders, and project managers each individual will be able to provide their input to find a decision that is mutually beneficial. Each person in the party will consider how it can benefit their particular industry, thus providing the leader with the information required to make a decision that benefits everyone.

Increasing Employee Morale and Motivation

If you have ever been employed in an industry with a corporate dynamic, you may have noticed that your boss would hold weekly meetings to receive updates on projects or to gather everyone’s input on a particular situation. This is because participative decision making is a great way to increase the morale and internal motivation of employees. Instead of the leader doing the entirety of the brainstorming, each employee is included in gathering information for the leader to make the decision. Therefore, they feel more included in the particular situation and it increases their self-worth in the office. The happier the employees, the more production the company will experience on a daily basis.

Participative decision making is a great way to provide everyone with the opportunity to have a say. Although the leader is the one individual who makes the final decision, each participant has the ability to give their own input.

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