Because there are several ways in which you can define the word “consensus”, there are therefore a number of ways in which consensual decision making can be utilized. In order to delve more deeply into this fact, it is perhaps best to first develop an understanding of what consensual decision making is.
The Basics Of Consensual Decision Making
Although there are different ways to utilize consensual decision making, there are a number of components that can be readily found in any understanding of the concept:
• Inclusive/Participatory: Consensual decision making relies heavily upon the inclusion of and participation of everyone involved. Those who are going to be directly affected by the decision are certainly going to be involved in the decision making process, as well.
• Agreement: Consensual decision making demands either complete agreement by everyone involved, or at the very least a vast majority. It is possible for a group to determine how much of an agreement needs to be reached and understood by everyone involved before that agreement is considered to be the official decision.
• Process-orientated: There is a strong emphasis on having the decision-making process utilized by the group highlighted in consensual decision making. Tactics designed to manipulate the opinions of the group are not considered to be acceptable methods in consensual decision making. The contributions of each and every participant is respected and encouraged.
• Collaboration: In adversarial decision making processes, individuals will compete with one another to develop an opinion that will sway all or a majority of the group. Consensual decision making discourages this intensely. Instead, the process of rendering a decision utilizes a true atmosphere of collaboration. Everyone contributes to create a decision that will affect everyone but also be agreed upon by everyone.
• Building relationships: Besides the necessity to make a decision in a collaborative, encouraging atmosphere, consensual decision making carries with it the additional benefit of creating relationships. This is considered to be a natural aspect of creating a situation in which individuals must encourage and cooperate with one another during the process of reaching a group agreement.
• Unified group thinking: One of the most fascinating, appealing components to consensual decision making is the fact that it is a concept that demands individual, creative thinking, but also needs these things to be used in a way that will benefit the entire group.
Consensual decision making can be difficult to implement, owing to a number of factors. However, it is well worth taking seriously as a possibility.