NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ1118608
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Decision-Making Alignment: Respecting Natural Consequences
Quinby, Lee
Independent School, v76 n1 Fall 2016
Many organizations have a tendency toward misalignment of "authority," "responsibility," and "accountability" that causes poor decision-making. There are natural consequences that result, similar to touching fire and getting burned. When those key elements are not properly aligned, the organization can experience grave difficulties that may even threaten its mission and stability. Many factors usually help avert the worst outcomes, but institutions with an alignment problem constantly court failure. An organization with proper alignment among these three principles assigns "authority" for decision-making in a way that includes anyone with "responsibility" for implementing that decision. Some people may have only an advisory role, but they share authority to some extent. Similarly, the "accountability" provisions in an organization should also reflect a strong connection with the assignment of authority and responsibility. Independent schools have many areas in which proper alignment is the norm. The natural consequences of misalignment can include poor decisions, people working at cross-purposes, unaddressed conflicts of interest, weak relational trust, change resistance, and competition where cooperation is needed. If poor alignment continues for any length of time, the organization's effectiveness and reputation may become compromised. Financial instability can also result, unless the organization has no competition, plenty of reserve funds, or some larger affiliation (perhaps with a church or foundation) that insulates it from natural consequences. This article provides observations that help illustrate the predictable nature of some dysfunctional patterns that often appear in schools and other organizations.
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A