WORKING GROUPS -- DECISION-MAKING, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Approved by Library Council, 1/6/99
This document is intended to clarify decision-making, implementation of decisions, and accountability for WSU Libraries working groups. Any questions or concerns should be sent to Library Council.
Working groups are responsible for decision-making within the boundaries of their charged responsibilities. When issues needing decisions cross those boundaries and affect other working groups or units, those areas should be included in deliberations prior to decision-making. When the working group is unsure of its boundaries, it should contact Library Council for clarification and advice. When issues cross boundaries, the working group should be proactive in including others in deliberations. This should be done even before a proposal or trial balloon is floated.
Working groups should invite affected parties to the discussion table at the decision-making stage.
Specifically, when a working group has developed a preliminary recommendation after gathering input, that draft recommendation should be circulated to those who provided input to inform them of the intent of the working group relative to a decision.
Open discussion and careful efforts to include all appropriate individuals will build trust in the new organization. This is especially important when decisions being considered by a working group impinge directly on someone’s work, as will often be the case.
If the working group ultimately reaches a decision that runs contrary to the input received during the discussion phase, the working group must make a special effort to explain its decision to all who are affected or who took part in the preliminary discussions.
If an issue crosses the bounds of more than one working group or unit, the affected groups are expected to work together to achieve consensus regarding the issue. If consensus cannot be reached, Library Council will weigh the issue and make a final decision.
During the decision-making process, some thought should be given to implementation. Who will be responsible for implementation? Have those individuals been included in the decision-making process? Does the decision have staffing or fiscal implications? (It is recommended that those responsible for implementation be involved early on in the deliberations regarding the issue.) If not, proper communication should take place from the working group so consideration of the issue and the decision will not be a surprise to the implementers. Once a decision has been made, the working group should communicate that decision to EVERYONE who will be affected by the decision. That communication requires more than simple distribution of meeting minutes. It should be a formal communication stating the issue and the decision, as well as any necessary background justifying the decision. A time frame for implementation should be given.
It may be necessary for the working group to meet with the key implementers to answer questions and clarify the intent of the working group decision. If there are questions that arise as implementation proceeds, the working group should be open to further dialog.
The boundaries between working groups and units are often indistinct. Whenever possible these bodies should work together to achieve the desired intent -- to the benefit of users and teaching/research faculty. Questions regarding boundaries or irreconcilable differences should be referred to Library Council.
Once the decision has been implemented, any unforeseen problems occurring should be conveyed to the working group. Decisions should not be considered so fixed or permanent that they cannot be changed if circumstances warrant revisiting the issue. The working group is responsible for its decisions. Once a decision has been made, it is assumed that it will be followed by all concerned. Consistency across the WSU Libraries is considered to be a cornerstone of user friendliness. Exceptions to a decision should be made carefully and with the consent of the working group.
Unit managers and supervisors may not veto decisions made by working groups. The appropriate mechanism for dealing with problems is through consultation.
If a charge has been made that a working group has exceeded its authority, violated its charge, overstepped its bounds, etc., Library Council will investigate and work with the working group and/or unit to overcome the problem.
APPROVED BY LIBRARY COUNCIL: 1-6-99
WG decision-making, implementation, accountability