Committee is a group of individuals especially designated to take decision in matters referred to it through free exchange of ideas among its members. Louis A. Allen states that “A committee is a body of persons appointed or elected to meet on an organised basis for the consideration of matters brought before it.” W. H. Newman defines it as “A group of people specifically designated to perform some administrative act. It functions only as a group and requires the free interchange of ideas among its members.” On the basis of the above definitions, the following broad characteristics may be spelled out:
1. Characteristics of committee organisation: A committe is a group of two or more persons appointed or elected.
2. Scope: It deals with specific problems referred to it. There are strictly defined jurisdictions within which committee is expected to justify its existence.
3. Deliberation: The members can go into details of the problems and can discuss each and every aspect of the problem concerned.
4. Authority: A committee may have the authority either to take final decisions or to recommend the action in the matter.
Types of Committees
Committees may be classified in various forms. The most common are:
1. Standing or ad hoc committees: A committee may be permanent (standing) or ad hoc (temporary) in character. A standing committee has permanent existence while ad hoc committee is constituted for a specific purpose.
2. Decision-making or other committees: A committee may be delegated authority to make a final decision while others may merely deliberate on the problems. Some committees are authorised only to make recommendations to the line executives.
3. Line or staff committees: The line committee is charged with the authority of decision-making affecting subordinates responsible to it.
4. Formal and informal committees: Formal committees are those which have been established under organisational rules, regulations and with specific authority spelling out its duties and authority. Most committees in business are formal ones. An informal committee, on the other hand, is organised without specific delegation of authority. It does not form a part of the organisation.
Merits of Committees Organization
The committee organisation is becoming more and more popular day by day. Important merits or advantages of the committee organisation are as under:
1. Collective decisions: All the important decisions are taken collectively in the committee organisation. Such decisions are more logical and sound and are affected by the skill, intelligence and experience of all the members of the committee.
2. Communication of information: The committee organisation provides a suitable stage for effective communication.
3. Increase in mutual cooperation: The committee organisation depends on the feeling of mutual cooperation and coordination. Thus, the committee organisation is helpful in developing the feeling of mutual trust and mutual cooperation among the members.
4. Decentralization of power: The committee organisation is based on decentralisation of power because in this system, the rights to take the important decisions are not centralised with any individual officer. All the members of the committee take collectively decisions.
5. Encouragement to democracy: It encourages democracy because all the decisions of committee are taken by majority.
6. Indiscriminate decisions: All the decisions of the committee organisation are taken collectively by all the members of the committee. Therefore, such decisions are also not effected by personal thinking and personal opinion of any officer.
7. Advantage of ability of members: All the members of the committee organisation participate in all the functions of the committee. They make their whole-hearted contribution in the functions of the committee. In this manner, the business enterprise gets the advantage of abilities of all the members.
8. Co-ordination: This is based on mutual cooperation and mutual trust. Therefore, the activities of all the members are coordinated.
9. Easy to control: The process of control becomes quite easy in this organisation because all the members take active participation in the decision-making process and they contribute their whole-hearted efforts in implementing the decision.
10. Other advantages: There are some other advantages also in addition to the above advantages. These are common directions, increased knowledge of members, etc.
Demerits of Committees Organization
1. Delay in decisions: A great disadvantage of the committee organisation is that the decisions become a project and thus delayed because all the decisions are to be taken by majority. Sometimes, the decisions are so late that they become meaningless.
2. Delay in action: As the decisions are late, their implementation is late and the action gets late.
3. Lack of motivation: As no individual officer is authorised to take an important decision, it creates lack of motivation.
4. Lack of responsibility: As all the decisions are taken collectively, it creates the problem of assigning responsibility to any individual officer.
5. Leadership of aggressive nature: A great disadvantage of the committee organisation is that the leadership of such committee is of aggressive nature because the person who speaks more and loudly dominates the committee.
6. Lack of secrecy: As all the important decisions are taken collectively by the heads of all the departments, there is a lack of secrecy.
7. Against minority members: As the decisions are taken by the rule of majority, there are some persons against these decisions. This way, the decisions of the committee remain against such minority members.
8. Useless functions: Sometimes the committee performs some functions which are of no use to the enterprise.
9. Slackness in the activities of enterprise: As the members of the committee are the heads of their departments and these members frequently call their meetings, it causes slackness in the activities of enterprise.
10. Other disadvantages: In addition to the above-mentioned disadvantages, there are some more disadvantages also, as difficulty in the discharge of duties by officers, etc.
Thus, we see that the committee organisation is meaningless and useless because of the above disadvantages. Koontz & O’Donnell has stated in this regard as, “You go to purchase a horse and you come back with a camel in your hands.”