Managers spend a great deal of time in meetings making decisions critical to organisational success, yet the design aspects of meetings remain largely understudied. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the potential impact of one critical design aspect of meetings – namely, whether a decision to be taken (or the meeting in general) was scheduled or not – on the use of distributed information, information elaboration, conflict, speed of decision making, and, ultimately, decision-making effectiveness.
The research presented in this paper combines a literature review with empirical data obtained from questionnaires and direct observation of decision making meetings on organisational issues in a hospital. One meeting was scheduled, the other two were unscheduled. A second questionnaire was administered 12 months after the respective decision making meetings to explore and evaluate the efficiency of the decisions made and their implementation.
This paper suggests that a scheduled meeting with a shared agenda of all decisions to be taken may induce decision makers to form opinions upfront at the meeting, with these opinions eventually serving as sources of conflict during group discussion. Because of the nature of the conflict generated, these meetings are more likely to run long and to not deliver the expected outcomes.
The study contributes to the debate on group decision-making processes by examining the effect of meeting scheduling on information elaboration and conflict in real-world decision-making settings. Although robust evidence has supported the existence of relationships between information elaboration, conflict, and decision-making effectiveness, previous studies have mainly focused on the effects of these processes during scheduled meetings and experimental settings. The findings of the present study show the effect of meeting scheduling on decision-making effectiveness in real-world settings.
The authors would like to express their deepest gratitude to all participants of the observed decision-making meetings in Rome for their cooperation during the meetings and filling out the administered questionnaires. They would like to thank the participants of the XIV Workshop dei Docenti e dei Ricercatori di Organizzazione Aziendale WOA 2013 in Rome, the Editor Nicholas O ' Reagan, and two anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments. Furthermore, Boris Eisenbart would like to thank the support of the Australian Research Council ' s Discovery Projects funding scheme (Project No. DP130101065).
Eisenbart, B., Garbuio, M., Mascia, D. and Morandi, F. (2016), "Does scheduling matter? When unscheduled decision making results in more effective meetings", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 15-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSMA-03-2014-0017Download as .RIS
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