A committee is an official group mainly formed to deliberate on a specific subject or matter. Other names include task forces, commission project teams etc. A lot of managerial work is usually delegated to committees. Committees usually range in size from two to several people. They are found at all levels in the enterprise.
Committees are either standing committees i.e. they are permanent, or ad hoc i.e. formed for a specific purpose and mainly temporary. Whereas management may create certain committees for purposes of delegation of some matter, some forms of committee are created by law e.g. Board of Directors, PTA in schools and Board of Governors.
An organization may find it appropriate to use committees in the following circumstances:
i. When they are likely to produce more information for decision making, especially when they are made of experts/specialists from different fields.
ii. To balance power relationships in the organization as authority is distributed when decisions are made by a group as opposed to an individual.
iii. To facilitate coordination among the functionalities of the organization – each committee member may be reporting about or representing each of the functional areas in the organization.
iv. To foster support for decisions – usually through the use of committees employees are given the opportunity to participate in the decision making process as they are allowed to represent their viewpoints.
v. As part of organizational employee development plans. Because of the expensive contact with people from different fields, committee members get to broaden their knowledge. Young managers can learn a lot by sitting in committees.