Re: Consensus resource recommendation
From: John Abbe (
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 07:00:28 -0500
At 4:19 PM -0500 on 1999-06-22, Lynn Nadeau typed:
>At RoseWind Cohousing, we have been using consensus-seeking process...
[...edited for brevity...]
>Lately we have been very pleased to find and use as our basic guide, the
>handbook "On Conflict and Consensus" by C.T. Lawrence Butler and Amy
>Rothstein. It is published by Food Not Bombs, 1-800-569-4054; website
>; email to fnbp [at]

Another good consensus book is Participatory Decision Making, by Sam 
Kaner et al.

>One interesting aspect of the process as recommended by this book is the
>treatment of Blocking. In short, the group must acknowledge the
>legitimacy of the objection -- as being based on a generally recognized
>principle, not personal preference, or it must be essential to the entire
>group's well-being-- for it to be allowed to  block a decision being
>made. This engendered a certain amount of discussion, as we also hold the
>notion that "each person has a piece of the truth" and try to closely
>examine objections as sources of new understanding of a situation. It
>seems at least a tiny bit risky to let the majority of the group decide
>on the legitimacy of a dissent. But we are trying it, and so far, so
>good. Usually, there are no potentially blocking objections, once all the
>discussion and synthesis has happened.

This requires a person to be articulate about what may be an 
intuition at present. If the group can be willing to believe that 
"each person has a piece of the truth" they may be able to help that 
person express the objection or concern in whatever way will help to 
make sense to them.

As for other consensus resources, there are some related resources at:


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.               _  _  |
The part is greater than its role in the whole. --Tom Atlee  (_ (_| /
John Abbe johnca@ourpla ^ Center for Group Learning

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