Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that seeks not only the agreement of most participants but also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections. Consensus is defined as, first – general agreement and, second – group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its origin in a Latin word meaning literally feel together.It is used to describe both general agreement and the process of getting to such agreement. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned primarily with that process.
Objectives As a decision-making process, consensus decision-making aims to be:
• Agreement Seeking: A consensus decision making process attempts to help participants reach as much agreement as possible.
• Collaborative: Participants contribute to a shared proposal and shape it into a decision that meets the concerns of all group members as much as possible.
• Cooperative: Participants in an effective consensus process should strive to reach the best possible decision for the group and all of its members, rather than competing for personal preferences.
• Egalitarian: All members of a consensus decision-making body should be afforded, as much as possible, equal input into the process. All members have the opportunity to present, and amend proposals.
• Inclusive: As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the consensus decision-making process.
• Participatory: The consensus process should actively solicit the input and participation of all decision-makers.