Personality Factors vs. Preference for Consensus Decision-Making
From: Norman Gauss (
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 17:05:47 -0800 (PST)
A research paper appearing in 2003 presented the results of studying the
influence of personality on consensus effectiveness:
Gastil, J. and Sager, K. , 2003-05-27 "The Origins and Consequences of
Consensus Decision Making: A Study of the Relationships among Personality
Factors, Decision Rules, and Group Outcomes" Paper presented at the annual
meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San
Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from

When asked to choose between consensus and majority rule, those groups
having large components of agreeable and extraverted people chose consensus
more often than majority rule.  Those with large components of people
exhibiting strong neuroticism chose majority rule over consensus.
Conscientiousness and Openness were not important personality factors
although the former showed a small preference for consensus.

Five personality factors were cited:
1. Extraversion
2. Agreeableness
3. Conscientiousness
4. Neuroticism
5. Openness to experience

1. Extraverted people tend to be sociable, fun-loving, affectionate,
friendly, and talkative.
2. Agreeableness is contrasted with antagonism. Antagonistic people "seem
always to set themselves against others. Cognitively they are mistrustful
and skeptical; affectively they are callous and unsympathetic, behaviorally
they are uncooperative, stubborn, and rude."
3. Conscientiousness is contrasted with undirectedness. Conscientious people
direct themselves toward acting in a meticulous, systematic, and thorough
manner. They have a will to achieve and are goal oriented.
4. Neuroticism is contrasted with emotional stability. Those with high
neuroticism tend to worry, be insecure, self-conscious, and temperamental.
Negative affect lies at the heart of this factor. It includes maladaptive
behavior and cognition. Those individuals with high neuroticism may be more
likely to hold faulty beliefs and exhibit nonproductive coping strategies.
5. Openness to experience is reflected by being original, imaginative,
having broad interests, and daring to do new things.

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