Re: Large group vs. small group meetings
From: Linda Mae-Richardson (
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 95 18:43 CST
This is my first day in "cohousing", and I'm brand new to Internet, so I 
hope I'm responding correctly.

It does seem obvious to me that if it is the task of the small group to 
set policy or reach decisions that affect the large group that the large 
group will obviously want to have an opportunity for input, however I 
would agree that input within a large group setting is tedious.

What about the small group (here at The Evergreen State College we call 
them a DTF - Disappearing Task Force) going through the 
survey/request-for-input period and then the copies of reports to key 
people (supervisors of each department for example) and one copy is 
posted on a public space like a bulletin board (or cyber-bulletin 
board).  If the decision would definately have a direct impact on a large 
number of people, it could then be put to a vote at the recommendation of 
the small group.  If it is an issue that does not directly affect the 
larger group, for example the distribution of funds that are held in the 
common interest (I'm relating here to the student activitiy funds here at 
TESC) then a representative group could be either appointed or "elected" 
fromt he larger group and their decision would be binding.  For example 
if someone wants to apply for funds to attend a conference that relates 
to their employment, then a small group makes a binding decision.  

I suppose I'd need more of an idea of the TYPES of decisions the groups 
are working with.  Are they mainly things that affect a larger group or 
.. ?

Again, I'm new at this and do not have a particular expertise in these 
areas.... outside of being a student within the Community Development: 
Local and Global Perspectives program.  We deal with this type of issue 
all the time.

One further criteria from another perspective:  Look more intensely at 
the interaction within the two types of groups.  Typically there are 
"quiet" people that do no choose to dominate the time of a larger group, 
and yet they have signifigant ideas to contribute, whereas a smaller 
group can make it a point to hear from each and every one of their members.
Also, the idea you pointed out of having the 10 people who are most 
interested in the decision-making process seems to be key as well.  
What's the point of wasting the time of those who are truly not investing 
in reaching a consensus.  That sort of raises another issue, too.  Are 
they looking for a consensus, or does a democratic vote allow them to 
move forward?  These two processes are very different, too.

'Enuf for now,


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