King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Meeting rules (Eco 200 assignment question)

(individual) What happens when the rules of the game (written or unwritten) decree that important meetings won't start until everyone is present and that late arrivals will incur no penalty? Is it in everyone's interest to be punctual? Are these rules of the game likely to prove satisfactory over time?

Of course they will not prove satisfactory over time. I can answer this one from personal (and current) experience at my office. Attendees show up very unpredictably. They have no incentive to show up on time or even at all if they are considered important to making a decision. Often they will simply not attend and scuttle a decision made in a meeting because they don't agree with it. Other participants then show up at meetings less frequently because their participating in the meeting is meaningless. The key participants need to be convinced through means other than the meeting, making the attendance at the meeting a waste of time. The collective influence of the meeting attendees is reduced, and few see much gain over the cost of their time by attending. However, meeting attendance often rises again because non-attendees are convinced to start attending again because they do not want to endure the grumbling and backstabbing that results from their non-attendance. Good meeting leaders are effective at prompting attendance by reducing the cost to attendees and increasing the reward.

My company had a standing bi-weekly meeting for development managers for several years. Attendance fluctuated, as did the productivity and collective influence for the meeting. In February I volunteered to chair the meeting (as it had never had an official chair prior to that) on the belief that I could make it more worthwhile to attend through small actions. My economic benefit was increased stature for my success along with increased influence for the development managers, of which I am one and which I therefore receive part of. I can't say for certain if my own stature has increased, but the collective influence of the group has increased as attendance has increased and held steady and as more decisions are made by this group and they stick (are not subsequently discarded by non-attendees).


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