Is there a "best" size for a committee?

Enhancing Rural Community Capacity May 07, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

The "best size" for a committee or working group is the size that enables the group to get its work done effectively and efficiently. Thus, the best number of people for one project might be five, while the best size for another group might be 12. As a general rule, groups that have more than 18 to 22 people or less than five become more challenging to manage. However, there are many exceptions to that rule that work well.

Here are some tips that might help you to find the right size for your group:

  • Is there any charter or language that dictates the size of the group? If so, then you will want to comply with that language.
  • What is the decision-making process for the group? Consensus gets more difficult as the group gets larger. Majority rule is more forgiving of larger groups but can result in the formation of '"factions."
  • How often will the group meet? The larger the group, the more challenging it gets to find times when everyone can attend.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.