Understanding Non-Decision Making

Understanding Non-Decision Making

David Sammon (University College Cork, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch102
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Non-decision making (NDM) has received limited attention in the research literature. However, this is surprising bearing in mind that the concept of NDM (the impact of the mobilisation of bias upon a latent issue) can indeed be observed and analysed (Bachrach & Baratz, 1963). Notwithstanding this, there is a considerable volume of research literature focusing on power relations and the impact of these relations on group or community decision-making. These research studies have relevance based on the fact that the concept of NDM has emerged through attempts to theorise power relations in society (Kamuzora, 2006). This entry presents some of the important aspects of what has been researched with regards to power relations and the emergence of the concept of Non-Decision Making.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobilisation of Bias: This is a dimension in the exercise of power within institutions. It refers to institutional features and knowledge frameworks that tend to admit some issues and agents while excluding others. It embraces the processes by which some alternatives may remain invisible because proponents lack the resources to affect decision-making processes or because they are excluded from the processes.

Latent Issue: Potentially existing but not presently evident or realised (somewhat invisible). An issue is present but is not active or causing symptoms.

Category Manipulation: The hidden art form of NDM which is practiced by powerful actors in a community or group as a means of ensuring that the decision-making process follows a certain direction in line with their interests and leads to their preferred course of action being taken.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Community: Conceptualising the ERP adoption process as a network of actors (implementing organisation, ERP vendor, and ERP consultant) with different interests, different techniques, and different modes of interaction.

Elitist Theory: All sufficiently large social groups will have some kind of elite group (nearly all political power is held by this relatively small and wealthy group) within them that actively participate in the group’s political dynamics. This power elite share similar values and interests and mostly come from relatively similar privileged backgrounds.

Non-Decision Making (NDM): NDM exists when the dominant values of the most powerful members of a group or community forcefully and effectively manipulate the situation in order to prevent certain grievances from developing into full-fledged issues that call for decisions.

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