Sunday, January 18, 2015

Participative decision-making in the leadership of the APS - a grand experiment?

When I began research for this essay, I intended to write in support of my belief that school board meetings should be facilitated.  Just because someone is a committee chair, doesn't mean they know how to run a meeting efficiently and effectively and fairly.

My search ended in the Wikipedia.  I found an excellent chapter on participative decision making, link. I recommend it to your time and attention.

The article is lengthy.  My own feelings are simple;
what ever else shared decision making is, it is the right thing to do.  And now is the right time to begin it.

The about to be recognized community seats on the APS Board of Education District and Community Relations Committee represent a grand experiment;

Can the finest minds in the leadership of the APS and community design and establish a venue in which there can be open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve?
Do our finest "leaders" have what it takes to lead?


I would like to share some thoughts I found in the Wikipedia.
By way of attribution, the points below rely heavily on cuts and pastes from the Wikipedia.  My rephrasing and rewording would compel a confusion of quotation marks so I won't.

  • The basic concept is a power-sharing arrangement in which decision making influence is shared among individuals who are otherwise hierarchically unequal.
  • Each committee member has an opportunity to share their perspectives, voice their ideas and tap their skills to improve team effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Participatory decision-making in the leadership of the APS can ensure the completeness of decision-making and likely will increase community and community member commitment to final decisions.
  • Participative decision-making  allows and encourages communities and community members to participate meaningfully in organizational decision-making. It creates a sense of belonging to the organization.
  • Participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the power holders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit.
  • One of the primary risks in any participative decision-making or power-sharing process is that the desire on the part the school board and superintendent for more inclusive participation is not genuine.
    "There is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process. Arnstein
  • Participative leadership will increase morale.
  • "Democratic decision making" involves facilitating the conversation, encouraging people to share their ideas, and then synthesizing all the available information into the best possible decision. 
  • "Consensus decision-making", gives the responsibility of the decision to the members of the committee. Everyone must agree and come to the same decision. This might take a while, but the decisions are among the best since it involves the ideas and skills of many other people. Team work is important in this style and brings members closer together while trust and communication increase.

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