2. Need: Is the committee the best technique

2. Need:

Is the committee the best technique for accom­plishing the defined purpose? Or would a meeting with a few subordinates in one session would do as well?

3. Size:

Is the size of the committee appropriate? Is it large enough to include the breadth of experience required for the task but not so large as to foster indecision?

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Where larger representation is important, the answer may lie in constituting subcommittees, with the problems broken down for action.

4. How often to meet:

A committee should meet as often as needed to fulfill its obligation. Some committees may be required to meet very often in the initial period, with the frequency of meetings lessening as time passes.

For example, the drugs and therapeutic committee will require meeting almost every week when it is considering preparing the hospital formulary. Once the formulary is prepared, once in a month and later once in a quarter review meeting may be sufficient.

For any committee, it is better to meet at fixed times, or fixed days, say the first Monday of each month at 4 PM. This helps the members to avoid conflict with other engagements.

5. Committee members:

The members must be represen­tative of the interest they are intended to serve.

a. Has he the capacity to work in group and does he relate well with his peers?

b. Does he have the ability to look at the underlying causes of the problem?

c. Does he think critically?

d. Can he look past his vested interest and examine all sides of the issue?

Remember that not everyone has the temperament, analytical ability and capacity for rationally working with others.

Prevent committees from becoming the forum of the traditional dissenter, the rostrum of the ambitious climber, or platform of the committee bore.

6. Subject matter:

Can the subject matter be handled in group discussion? Has the agenda been prepared and circulated?

The way subject matter is presented is important. Even the well-informed committee member can hardly be expected to have a considered opinion on important matters without some notice of what to except.

7. The committee chairman:

The success of the committee will depend on the skill of the chairman. He sets the tone of the meeting. When the subject matter is open to contention, he leads the discussion so that members are not forced into a position.

His skill is in integrating committee deliberation. Integration of ideas, as contrasted with compromise, builds a point of view.

Even if he is a superior in the scalar chain of the organisation, the chairman must handle the meeting firmly without imposing personal opinions or thwarting freedom of discussion. A nondirective approach creates the climate in which the individual can express his views without fear of reprisal or of being put in his place.

If the members and subject matter have been well- selected, the responsibility for assuring effective deliberations of the committee is that much easier.

Conversely, even a skilled chairman can hardly make up for the deficiencies of a poorly constituted committee.

8. Minutes and conclusion:

It is necessary to prepare minutes of the committee meetings, circulate them in a draft form for correction and issue the final copy after approval of the committee. Conclusion and recom­mendations provide for follow-up.