Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Psychology in the Workplace

How much should decision-making power be shared?

The extent to which decision making is shared with subordinates or concentrated at the top of the hierarchy differs across organizations. Thus, organizations can vary from strongly centralized decision-making practices to highly participatory decision-making practices. In participatory decision making, subordinates have much more input into how decisions are made. Research shows that greater participation in decision making improves employees’ satisfaction with the decisions, but does not necessarily translate into better group performance. Therefore, research has investigated when participatory decision making is most useful, and when it is less important. When the workers are highly educated, intelligent, and have considerable expertise in their areas, participatory decision making is more effective. Additionally, when the task at hand is highly complex and knowledge about local conditions is important to the decision, participatory decision making is important. Finally, in times of crisis, when the decisions have very strong impact, participatory decision making is useful.


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