The Impact of Shared Decision Making

Impact of decisions without stakeholder buy-in and involvement

One of the most important factors in organizational life is decision making. Leaders are subsequently aware of the importance of decision-making and several theories and models have been forwarded concerning this phenomenon. Currently, there is substantial research in connection to decision making and its accompanying constructs. Nevertheless, the nature of any decision is not limited to any specific model or theory. In typical organizations, the element of decision making goes beyond the individuals who are involved in the day to day operations of an organization, and they also involve a series of other external stakeholders.

In this paper, the goal is to consider the impact of decisions without stakeholders’ buy-in and involvement. The model under which decision-making involves stakeholders’ buy-in is referred to as a participatory decision-making framework. In participatory decision-making, stakeholders have a substantial influence on any decisions that influence an organization. In educational settings, decision making involves a great deal of human-service orientation and it also presents various avenues for conflict. This paper is a consideration of the impacts of shared decision making in the course of transformational leadership and organizational development.

Autocratic decisions versus participative decisions

The two most common styles of decision-making are participative and autocratic styles. The autocratic style of decision making is also known as the authoritarian style and it is characterized by decisions from an individual. In the authoritarian form of leadership, the leader is at liberty to make all decisions without necessarily relying on external input (Schuttler, 2013). The input on autocratic decisions mainly consists of the manager’s own judgment and ideas. Furthermore, autocratic decision-makers do not rely on other people’s advice. Organizations that rely on the autocratic style when making their decisions often enjoy a faster but less diverse decision-making process.

The other style of decision making is the participatory style, and it defines scenarios where decisions involve a significant amount of participation from all the individuals who are impacted by such choices. For instance, participatory decision making might involve a lot of participators including shareholders and employees. It is important to note that the nature of decisions is not static and most organizations use both participatory and autocratic styles of decision making. The effectiveness of any of the two styles depends on some factors. Some of the factors that affect how a leader makes a decision include decision quality, subordinate commitment, and time constraints.

What approach is currently practiced most frequently in your organization?

In educational settings, the autocratic style of decision making can be effective when the leader is a renowned expert on a particular field. Autocratic decisions are also viable when the leader has been accorded the necessary authority to make all the required judgments. In crunch-time situations, autocratic decision making is also viable because urgency is more relevant than overall participation. On the other hand, participatory decision making is relevant in situations that when expansive information has to be taken into consideration before a decision is made. The stakeholders’ buy-in is also an important factor in the participatory style of decision making.

Participatory decisions are also effective in situations where the leader has enough time to make all the necessary considerations. Problems that lack clear definitions and analysis can also be easily addressed using the participatory style. In my organization of choice, the most dominant style of decision making is the participatory model. The leaders in my organization rely on well-defined calendars for their decisions. On the other hand, stakeholders’ buy-in is an important aspect of the education sector because responsibilities for decisions are often spread across the board. In my organization’s participatory style of decision-making, the top leadership is involved in coordinating the input of all participants in the process. Nevertheless, most of the decisions that are made in that organization have to fit into a certain framework (Brown, 2011).

The most dominant practice in the organization involves making decisions months before they are put into action. Consequently, the participatory style of decision making is used frequently in my organization.

What steps might be taken to increase democratic principles?

There are many ways of increasing democratic principles and promote participative decision making in organizations. The first step in the promotion of democratic principles involves having leaders who are ready and willing to give up a few aspects of control and subsequent decision-making powers. The buy-in of stakeholders should not be the only motivator in regards to participatory decision making.

A democratic space of decision-making can only be possible in instances where careful planning has been instituted in regards to accommodating collaboration among all the decision-makers. For instance, it is not often easy to change different stakeholder’s ideas about management and the decision-making process. Another way of increasing democratic principles is by ensuring that an organization uses high-quality data when making its decisions. High-quality data ensures that managers can concentrate on the decision itself and not the circumstances surrounding it. Good data also ensures that there is little probability for errors when it comes to the decisions that leaders make.

Transparency also provides an organization means for ensuring that democratic principles thrive in an entity. Transparency is important to the process of ensuring democracy in an organization and because participatory decision-makers should be in a position to know the basis of any decision that is made within an organization. Transparency is a commonly acceptable democratic principle in regards to managers, directors, civil servants, and boards of trustees. These leadership elements are supposed to act transparently to promote democratic decision-making practices in an organization. To promote transparency, individuals should ensure that transparency of information is relevant to ensure that stakeholders are not overwhelmed by the amount of information that is presented to them.

What may you need to do to unite the organization?

Uniting an organization is a continuous and strategic process that involves several key factors. One of these factors is the purpose, and it entails the ability of any decision-maker to back up the rationale of any decision. On the other hand, the purpose is a unifying factor in an organization because it makes all the stakeholders come together through shared goals. Another strategy for uniting an organization is by having a genuine commitment to reach consensus.

Leaders are entitled to the task of making sure that everyone within the organization remains committed to decision making. Therefore, a leader should be willing to go through the entire decision-making process. For example, it is common for individuals to shift their positions in the course of making a decision. The issues of minority and majority dynamics can only be resolved through a leader’s commitment.

A leader can also unite the organization by cultivating trust and openness in the course of making decisions. It is reassuring for members of any organization to have a sense of belonging when they are assured of a free and fair process. On the other hand, fear within an organization can jeopardize the need for unity among stakeholders. If members of an organization sense that their interests are being ignored, they are more likely to disengage from the decision making process. Unity within an organization can also be fostered by ensuring that decisions are made on time. This strategy makes it easy for the decision-making process to be credible. It is also important for the leader to ensure that the decision-making process is clear and any type of consensus is understandable to all of the organization’s stakeholders (Kouzes & Posner, 2012).

Unity can also be achieved by ensuring active participation concerning shared decisions. Therefore, the leader should ensure that the views of all stakeholders are listened to and all the individual sensitivities are considered. Overall, the leader needs to facilitate decision making especially when this process involves large groups of people. For example, during meetings decisions are to be facilitated and not imposed or selected from views.

Professional Learning Communities) PLCs and communities of practice

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are instituted to improve school organizations. Stakeholders in school districts have expressed their interest in improving grade-level teaching, school committees, departments of education, and professional organizations among others. It is important to note that different school districts conceive the idea of PLCs differently. Therefore, school reforms have become dependent on PLCs and the relevant communities of practice.

In my school district, the current understanding of PLCs depends on the search for better methods of organization. The conventional wisdom in regards to my school district’s understanding of PLCs is that their main purpose is to reinforce the existing education parameters. One prominent feature of these PLCs is that they are aimed at empowering school leaders to give them the capacity to introduce change to the school system.

My school district perception of PLCs is such that it can create a shared vision among education stakeholders. Furthermore, the vision, mission, and values of the PLCs are openly sourced and implemented by the elected leaders within the organization. The school district also understands PLCs as tools for carrying out a collective inquiry through shared decision making. For example, school boards across my school district are structured in a representative manner. It is also important for PLCs to promote action orientation and experimentation. Also, PLCs are closely connected to result in orientation and continuous improvement.

One characteristic of PLCs that requires enhancement is continuous improvement. In the education sector, a lot of effort is put into maintaining the status quo and operations in general. Therefore, several action steps are necessary to ensure that schools can enjoy the benefits of continuous improvement using PLCs. First, stakeholders need to understand the nature of the existing communities of practice.

This understanding ensures that leaders are in a position to identify areas that require improvement (Anderson, 2012). The next step is to ensure that all stakeholders have given leaders the mandate to spearhead continuous improvement in regards to desired progress. The main reason why PLCs do not cater for continuous improvement is that the decision making structures of various school districts are rigid. Furthermore, progress within the school culture is considered to be a disruptive affair.


Anderson, D. L. (2012). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Brown, D. R. (2011). An experiential approach to organization development (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Schuttler, R. (2013). Everyday leader heroes. Aurora, CO: Caboodle Books Ltd.