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What is a Governing Body?

Smartpedia: A governing body is a group of people who make decisions together – usually in and for organisations.

Governing body – making joint decisions in a team

A committee is a group of persons that deals with defined tasks. The central task of a group usually determines the name of the body: a governing body makes decisions (that’s why it’s also called a decision-making body), a supervisory body controls processes and content, an advisory body advises, an information committee collects information, etc. The body’s name is determined by the group’s tasks.

The further the term “body” or “committee” is interpreted, the more groupings can be classified as bodies or committees. In companies, for example,

are typical bodies; in politics,

  • city councils,
  • local councils,
  • parliaments,
  • federal councils or
  • councils of elders, etc.,

are typical.

Recommendations for governing bodies

A governing body should

  • consist of an uneven number of participants so that a valid majority is possible when making decisions.
  • be interdisciplinary, if necessary, so that different perspectives are taken into account in the decision-making process.
  • define in which situations it comes together, e.g. cyclically once a month, dynamically when reaching decision points or in exceptional situations when ad hoc decisions have to be made.
  • determine where the participants meet (all on-site or via video and Internet).
  • clarify once what happens if participants are prevented from attending (if the right to vote is cancelled, it is transferred to a temporary representative or another member of the group) or if participants leave the body permanently.
  • agree once on goals, the basic procedure, an agenda with timetable and the documentation of the results.

It is also important for the members of a governing body to know if

  • they include a payment or at least an expense allowance for their activities.
  • participation is limited or unlimited.
  • the decisions taken are subject to an authority to issue instructions.
  • there are consequences for the employment relationship, such as for a member of the works council.


Governing body - making decisions together


There are a number of aids that decision-making bodies can use in decision-making, such as a decision matrix, a decision table supplemented by a decision tree, or a Pugh matrix.

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Here you will find additional information from our Smartpedia section:

Smartpedia: What is a Decision Tree?

What is a Decision Tree?

Smartpedia: What is a Decision Matrix?

What is a Decision Matrix?