ABSTRACT: Management by Committee?

Committees are typically constituted by cross-organizational responsibilities. In fact, committees frequently serve as an organizational construct to address cross-functional dependencies, coordination and cooperation. We have analyzed over 40 committees, and we found two serious deficiencies in most of them:

1. The relationships among committees or among a committee and existing processes are lacking in committee charters.
2. What the committee was chartered to do and what it actually does is inconsistent.

This is particularly true when the committee was chartered with a strategic role. Strategy committees often evolved to an operational decisions or at best tactical decisions role. Like a lost patrol, the strategic focus was forgotten. Different committees serve different roles. We have found there are nine distinct roles. A committee may have one or some combination of these roles.

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