In a decentralized organization, we want diversity of input into decisions so that we can make decisions with the most context and creativity that allows us to maximize the longevity of the organization.

When nobody owns a decision, there is uncertainty in who feels responsibility for that decision. Sometimes multiple people feel responsibility, sometimes nobody feels responsibility. Sometimes opinions on the decision clash, sometimes they're aligned, and sometimes there is no suggestion on the decision posited at all.

These systems can have multiple negative effects on outcomes. In terms of process and operations, this system can make decision-making can take much longer, drain more resources, or be ignored entirely. In terms of prioritization and direction, this can lead to prioritization without focus or design by committee, where there is no strategy followed, but rather, a 'fair' allocation to differing directions.

The examples above illustrate how opening up decision-making authority can be detrimental to an organization. It's actually in the best interest of an organization to isolate decision-making authority, and encourage a decision-maker to gather as much context from others so that they're not making uninformed, unproductive decisions. The isolated decision-maker can be an individual (other firms refer to this as Directly Responsible Individuals) or a small, autonomous pod of individuals who have their own structure for efficient decision-making.

Open, permissionless organizations have increased risk of bad outcomes of open decision-making authority because of their their values of openness, transparency, and decentralization. These organizations essentially have all community members stakeholders in decisions, and we know that stakeholders appreciate transparency, and as the number of stakeholders in an organization increases, the need for formality in decision-making also increases.

These tendencies of permissionless organizations often manifest themselves in facilitators asking a group for consensus around a decision, holding open meetings where large groups can weigh in on decisions and begin to feel ownership over their outcome, etc. Sometimes attending and voicing opinions in these meetings is very popular in a community, and other times it's not. This is an interesting subject to explore more.

These behaviors can be positive or negative for an organization. If an organization wants to hold open meetings for context-gathering, they should establish a norm that decision-making authority should be isolated to an individual, and that meetings like the ones mentioned above are for context-setting and feedback, rather than execution of decisions. This is an example of how different 'write' permissions can be solutions to managing contributor-community mixed spaces (a topic I plan to flesh out more later).

While execution of decisions may be best left to closed-door meetings with small groups of people (as smaller groups make faster decisions), a much as possible, those decision-makers should share the rationale behind their decisions, and credit individuals who provided input or context to help make that decision. This is because not explaining decisions appears uncooperative and adversarial. Top-down reinforcement or nudging of this practice may be recommended because communication tends towards private channels.