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Working Collaboratively Toward Effective Decision-making. Frances D. Butterfoss, PhD, MSEd James M. Krieger, MD, MPH Michael P. Rosenthal, MD. Democracy. “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way for 280 million people to make a decision.”. Process of Building Governance.

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working collaboratively toward effective decision making

Working Collaboratively Toward Effective Decision-making

Frances D. Butterfoss, PhD, MSEd

James M. Krieger, MD, MPH

Michael P. Rosenthal, MD


“It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way for 280 million people to make a decision.”

process of building governance
Process of Building Governance
  • Develop mission & goals
  • Integrate ideas from many stakeholders
  • Transition from networking to engaging, involving & empowering partners
  • Qualitative analyses may provide insight into process
continuum of decision making power
Continuum of Decision-making Power


Coalition develops ➨ Coalition itself

recommendations, but has final decision-

other organization(s) making power

has final say

Wandersman, 1981

shared formalized decision making in coalitions
Shared & Formalized Decision-making in Coalitions
  • Creates positive coalition environment
  • Ensures that member benefits outweigh costs
  • Encourages pooling of resources
  • Increases member engagement(commitment

to mission & goals, participation in activities, satisfaction with coalition work)

  • Makes effective assessment & planning more likely

Butterfoss & Kegler, 2002

models of decision making in coalitions
Models of Decision-making in Coalitions
  • Steering Committee, coalition chair or lead agency decides
  • Voting or majority rule (2/3 rule)
  • Consensus
  • Combination of models depending on issue
rapid decision making models
Rapid Decision-making Models
  • Steering Committee (coalition & committee chairs & key at-large organization members)


  • Steering Committee gets input from members via email then decides
  • Staff decides with input from key leaders & organizations
  • Action alert vote is sent via email to members
power in decision making1
Power in Decision-making

* Significantly associated with:

  • Positive opinion about leadership
  • Agreement with coalition vision
  • Reporting more benefits of participation
  • Higher degrees of support and trust

* p=< .01

examples of difficult or controversial decisions
Examples of Difficult or Controversial Decisions
  • Decisions about mission, goals & objectives
    • Transition from asthma campaign to asthma management & research focus
  • Decisions who gets resources & recognition
    • Referring & coordinating requests for patient education & home assessments fairly among partners
  • Decisions about power, prestige & influence
    • Competition for election to coalition office
  • Decisions about funding opportunities/grants
    • Competition for who leads, who shares
  • Decision-making in coalitions can be potential source of conflict
  • Decision-making must be managed in standard, fair & timely manner
  • Comfort with decision-making leads to member satisfaction, commitment & participation
  • Coalitions that practice good decision-making are more likely to be effective & sustained