Separating the information from the decision
Andrew McAfee has a pair of interesting articles on decision making in the world of cheap and fast information transfer. I am interested because decision making is one of the key aspects of management (knowledge, information, "stuff"). And McAfee is suggesting that we may be moving to a new era in thinking about decision making. Input by Many, Decisions by ????
I recently posted about what I call the the Great Decoupling of information flows and decision rights within organizations: the fact that it’s now so cheap to process, store, and transmit data that there’s no need to be stingy with information by sending it only to decision makers.
Both articles are relatively long discussions of the impact of fast information flows. All good stuff of course. At one point, McAfee suggests that there will no longer need to be concern of information collection (long and tedious process) when thinking about who should make the decision:
It will instead be the decoupling of information flows and decision rights. Organization designers will be able to allocate decision rights without worrying about how costly it will be to get required information to deciders. Leaders will be able to ask "Who should make this decision?" without adding "Keeping in mind that it’s going to be slow, difficult, and expensive to get them the general knowledge they’ll need."
Traditionally, these things are tied together, as the person (group) who is best able to gather the information is frequently the one tagged to make the relevant decision. Assuming information is flowing quickly and easily, this doesn't have to be the case. So now it becomes a question of who is most qualified to make the decision, separated from how they get the information.
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