ERIC Number: ED272067
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-15
Reference Count: 0
On Deciding How to Decide: To Centralize or Decentralize.
Chaffee, Ellen Earle
Issues concerning whether to centralize or decentralize decision-making are addressed, with applications for colleges. Centralization/decentralization (C/D) must be analyzed with reference to a particular decision. Three components of C/D are locus of authority, breadth of participation, and relative contribution by the decision-maker's staff. C/D analysis can also shift depending on the identities of individuals at the core or outer circle. Strategic, tactical, and operational decisions are distinguished. Empirical findings from the literature on C/D suggest that: strategic decisions are best made by centralized authority with decentralized participation; and the authority to make operational decisions should be decentralized as much as possible. Tactical and operational decisions that relate to established strategy are probably made at lower levels of authority and with less participation, except when they generate a fair amount of controversy. Five questions should be used to determine whether centralization or decentralization is appropriate: (1) is it a strategic decision? (2) what is the organizational context of the decision? (3) who should have the authority to make the decision? (4) should participation be broad or narrow? and (5) to what extent would the decision-maker's staff be involved? (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Boulder, CO.