Consensus-seeking decision-making

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Consensus-seeking decision-making (also known as consensus/voting hybrid decision-making) is a term sometimes used to describe a formal decision process similar to the decision-making variant known as "formal consensus" but with the additional option of a fallback voting procedure if consensus appears unattainable during the consensus-seeking phase of the deliberations.

Ideally the fallback voting option is only exercised after all reasonable attempts to address concerns have been exhausted, although in practice this might be constrained by time limits imposed on the deliberations. When consensus is deemed to be unattainable, either the "presenter" of a proposal or the "facilitator" of the deliberations is empowered to choose the closing option of a fallback vote. Other possible closing options may include "refer to committee", "test for stand-asides", and "withdraw the proposal".

The fallback voting procedure is sometimes characterized by a relatively high vote required for approval, such as 80%, with the idea that this approximates decision by consensus. However, there is controversy [1] over whether this feature of the process truly approximates decision by consensus or subverts it by encouraging minoritarianism.

Consensus-based groups adopting fallback voting processes often do so in order to facilitate timely decision-making.[citation needed] However, there is controversy over whether any voting option (or the underlying time constraints) undermines the ability of a consensus process to effectively resolve minority concerns.

Many Green party organizations have adopted consensus-seeking decision-making processes.[citation needed]


  1. ^ [1] by Rosa Koire: “since the ‘other’ side is running the meeting you can be sure that the manipulation will result in their predetermined outcome. You’ll find that the water never gets into the pitcher at all. The real meaning of consensus is to take away your voice and leave you feeling as if you are the only one who has some problem with the results. [...]”

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