Levels of Agreement
When a group is asked to take a decision, the members try to find a common level of agreement by either democratic voting or consensus-based decision-making. In case of consensus-based decisioning seldom all people agree equally to the decision found. Instead, they commit themselves to a level of personal agreement.
In consensus-based decision-making, you can differentiate five possible levels of "agreement" to the decision found.
“I believe this proposal would be majorly detrimental to our group, because either it goes against our fundamental principles or it would lead to a disastrous outcome.”
“I do not agree with the group's proposal. I feel the need to block its adoption and propose an alternative.”
||Abstain: “I feel we have no clear sense of agreement among the group. We need to talk more before considering a decision.”
||Stand Aside: “I have major concerns with the proposal, and agree to stand aside and let the group proceed with it.”
The choice to stand aside may be based on (but is not limited to) any of the following:
- Disagreement with the proposal, or the process used to reach the decision;
- Personal values or principles;
- Personal impact or need, e.g. “I can’t afford this” or “I’d have to leave the group.”
- “I may not be especially enthusiastic about it, but I can accept the group's proposal.”
|| Consent with Reservations: “I support the basics of this proposal, and have one or more minor unresolved concerns. I think this proposal is the best choice of the options available to us.”
||Full Agreement: “I am enthusiastic about the group's proposal and am confident it expresses the best wisdom of the group.”
Group Decision Characteristics
Consensus-based decision-making embraces individual perspectives, aims, and needs. It honors the contribution of each individual to the process. It builds on respect, trust, co-operation and mutual aid to achieve agreeable solutions for everyone concerned. In consensus-based decision-making every participant
In consensus-based decision-making every participant should
- ... agree as much as possible to the solution found. — Agreement Seeking.
- ... contribute to the shared proposal and shapes it into a decision that meets the concerns of all team members as much as possible. — Collaborative Principle.
- ... strive to reach the best possible decision for the team and all of its members, rather than competing for her own personal preferences. — Cooperative Principle.
- ... has the opportunity to present, and amend proposals with equal rights. — Egalitarian Principle.
- ... include as many other (external) stakeholders as possible to the consensus decision-making process, if needed. — Inclusive Principle.
- ... pull actively input and participation of all decision-makers needed. — Participatory Principle.
You see, these principles are fundamental for the collaboration of a self-organised team. — And they are congruent to the characteristics stated in the Wikipedia article aforementioned. — Surprise, surprise.
Rules To Use Group Decisions Formats
There is a certain process schema valid for all kinds of group decision processes: