Consent-based decision making

Consent-based decision making (in its variations also called participatory, peer-based decision making, dynamic governance, sociocracy, holacracy etc.) is another method to increase flow and reduce waste.

How?

It works with consent as a constraint to increase flow and reduce waste in decision making.

Why?

Because it wants to avoid the negative consequences of existing models of decision making:

  • Autocratic decision making  = rule of very small minority, everyone else ignored / no rights
  • Majority vote = rule of majority ignores minority and dissenting opinions
  • Consensus = decision making stalls for lack of consensus or only agreeing on smallest denominator which doesn’t address problems/challenges adequately

In all three existing models a large number of people is left disempowered and disengaged and the decision making method is not robust in delivering quality outcomes.

Source: http://www.acocreativepath.com/consent-decision-making/

Now what?
It is not an option anymore to just decide, outvote or wait for others to agree. This means we have to come up with a better way of how we make decisions together. The key criterium is not having a paramount, reasoned objection. In the absence of that, proposals move forward.

The decision for consent-based decision making triggers a whole lot of new organisational issues like:

  • What are the criteria for making / objecting / amending / rejecting a proposal?
  • What is the area/domain which is covered by a proposal?
  • Who is allowed to make / object / amend / reject a proposal?
  • When are we allowed to make proposals?
  • And how do proposals cascade and relate, depending on the levels of organization?

So defining and organizing these becomes important. And a whole lot of other stuff…

For a concise 4 minute introduction to sociocracy (full disclosure: I am acting as Chair for Sociocracy for All, a sociocratic organisation):

Some possible relationships:

A link with other models could be co- and self-regulation. To achieve successful self-regulation, we need to build on a platform of co-regulation. This means securing a safety first (like in early development of humans/children, see attachment theory (Bowlby/Ainsworth) and polyvagal theory (Porges).

In this sense, sociocracy concerns itself more with co-regulation as conditions for peaceful and successful organisations and societies, whereas holacracy seems to focus more on self-regulation, breaking down the barriers for individuals to successfully self-regulate within organisations.

On a purpose level, the co-regulation approach seems to be close to the stakeholder approach, which creates the conditions for organisations to focus on delivering value for customers. A shareholder value approach seems to be like self-regulation which is not well co-regulated.