Agreements of substance and importance have effects, ramifications, influence on the work of others. And since Americans work in teams, many of them in several teams at any given time, they are not inclined to enter fully into an agreement until they have checked out what those effects might be.
Why invest additional time discussing the details of a potential agreement, if one or two aspects of it are counter to their other responsibilities? Instead, Americans will check with key colleagues in those organizations potentially influenced by the agreement. In many cases, they will also briefly discuss the case with their direct manager.
This approach is often mistakenly interpreted as a sign that many Americans are either incapable or unwilling to make decisions on their own, without having to run to their boss for permission.
American team leads ultimately carry all responsibility for what occurs within their organization, and are therefore keenly interested in what obligations their team members make in their – the team leader’s – names.