Agreement In Decision-​​Making

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The Quaker consensus[19] is con­sid­ered effec­tive because it sets up a simple and proven struc­ture that moves a group towards unity. The Quaker model aims to allow the lis­tening of indi­vidual voices while pro­viding a mech­a­nism for man­aging dif­fer­ences of opinion. [5] [20] [21] Con­sensus for­ma­tion and expe­ri­ences on direct democ­racy have been a fea­ture of the Stu­dent Non­vi­o­lent Coor­di­nating Com­mittee (SNCC) voter reg­is­tra­tion projects in the southern United States; Stu­dents for a Demo­c­ratic Society ‘Ad demo­c­ratic Society‘ (in the mid-​​1960s), a few women‘s lib­er­a­tion groups (late 1960s to early 1970s) and anti-​​nuclear and paci­fist groups (late 1970s and early 1980s). [58] For example, the anti-​​nuclear alliance Clamshell alliance and Move­ment for a New Society has engaged in con­sen­sual decision-​​making processes. [59] The ori­gins of the for­ma­tion of formal con­sensus go back much fur­ther, to the reli­gious society of friends or Quakers who took tech­nology as early as the 17th cen­tury. [60] The Bap­tists, including some Men­non­ites, have a his­tory of con­sen­sual decision-making[61] and some believe that the Bap­tists were already prac­ticing con­sensus at the Mar­tyrs Synod of 1527. [60] Some Chris­tians attribute con­sen­sual deci­sions to the Bible. The Anabap­tist Global Men­nonite Ency­clo­pedia refers in par­tic­ular to Acts 15[62] as an example of con­sensus in the New Tes­ta­ment. The absence of a legit­i­mate con­sen­sual process in the unan­i­mous con­dem­na­tion of Jesus by cor­rupt priests[63] in an illegal San­hedrin court (which had rules pre­venting unan­i­mous con­dem­na­tion in an early trial) influ­enced the views of paci­fist Protes­tants, including Bap­tists (Mennonites/​Amish), Quakkers and shakers. In par­tic­ular, it influ­enced his dis­trust of the appro­priate court­rooms and “to be clear about the trial” and to come together in such a way that “everyone must be heard”. [64] Among the most impor­tant com­po­nents of the Quaker con­sensus are the belief in a common humanity and the ability to decide together. The goal is “unity, not una­nimity.” We ensure that the group mem­bers speak only once until others are heard and pro­mote a diver­sity of thought.

The mod­er­ator is seen as a ser­vice to the group rather than as a respon­sible person. [22] In the Quaker model, as in other con­sensus decision-​​making processes, the artic­u­la­tion of the con­sensus that emerges allows mem­bers to express them­selves clearly on the pre­lim­i­nary deci­sion. Since mem­bers‘ views will be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, they are likely to sup­port them. [23] To ensure that the approval or approval of all par­tic­i­pants is appre­ci­ated, many groups choose una­nimity or near-​​unanimity as the rule of deci­sion. Groups that require una­nimity allow indi­vidual par­tic­i­pants to block a group deci­sion. This pro­vi­sion encour­ages a group to ensure that all mem­bers of the group approve any new pro­posals before being adopted. How­ever, it is impor­tant to put in place appro­priate guide­lines for the use of this option. The ethics of the con­sen­sual deci­sion encourage par­tic­i­pants to put the well-​​being of the whole group ahead of their indi­vidual pref­er­ences. If there is poten­tial for a group decision-​​making bloc, both the group and the group‘s dis­si­dents are encour­aged to work together until an agree­ment can be reached. A simple veto of a deci­sion is not con­sid­ered to be a respon­sible man­age­ment of the blocking of consensus.

Some common guide­lines for the use of con­sen­sual block­ages include:[2][7] Con­fu­sion between una­nimity and con­sensus gen­er­ally leads to the failure of con­sensus deci­sions, and the group returns to the majority or majority rule or dissolves.

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