Why Decision By Committee Often Fails
Introduction (via Mind Your Decisions Blog)
Facing a tough choice, my boss set up a committee to decide. The committee spent days arguing and eventually came up with a horrendous recommendation. Sound familiar to you?
I’ve wondered why committees often fail and make terrible decisions. Recently I came across a mathematical illustration that helps explain this phenomenon.
A simple decision question
Imagine you face a very difficult decision and there is a low probability of making the right choice.
What would you rather do: ask a single person to decide or instead send it to a three-person group where the majority choice wins?
Let us explore the math.
The moral: committees may not be the best for making touch choices!
That’s not to say committees are useless. They will of course exist to diffuse risk and for the purpose of brainstorming (which may increase the odds of success over an individual). But this does show committees are ill-suited for the type of hard problem they are meant to address.