Ackoff on consensus

I have written previously here that I am convinced that sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways. Below is an additional example from Russel L. Ackoff on the use of consensus which sounds very sociocratic to me:

Decisions made by a majority of participants usually create a dissatisfied minority.

Decision-making by consensus avoids such abuse, but it appears to make reaching a conclusion very difficult if not impossible. This only appears to be the case because the nature of consensus is not well understood. It is complete agreement, not in principle, by in practice.

Agreement in practice is agreement to act; it does not require that the approved action is taken by all to be the best in principle.

When consensus is not reached, an attempt should first be made to design a test of the alternatives proposed, a test that all the participants accept as fair and one by whose outcome they are willing to abide.”

… I have never experienced one [session] in which consensus could not be reached …

Source: Russell L. Ackoff, The Democratic Corporation, pp. 81—83.


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