Decision making by vote and by consent are two distinct approaches used in various settings, such as organizations, governments, and community groups.
While both methods involve multiple individuals contributing to the decision-making process, they differ in terms of their underlying principles and the outcomes they aim to achieve.
Here are the key differences between decision making by vote and by consent:
- Decision making by vote: In this approach, decisions are made based on the majority rule principle, where the option with the highest number of votes wins. Each participant typically casts a single vote, and the option that receives the most votes is selected, regardless of the margin.
- Decision making by consent: Consent-based decision making focuses on ensuring that decisions are acceptable to all participants involved. The emphasis is on achieving broad agreement and addressing any concerns or objections raised by individuals. The goal is to reach a decision that is supported by everyone involved.
- Decision making by vote: The voting process often leads to winners and losers, as decisions are determined by the majority. The voices and perspectives of the minority may not be fully taken into account, potentially resulting in dissatisfaction or marginalization.
- Decision making by consent: Consent-based decision making aims to include all relevant perspectives and concerns in the decision-making process. It seeks to address objections and find solutions that work for everyone involved, fostering a sense of ownership and collaboration.
- Decision outcomes:
- Decision making by vote: The outcome is determined by a numerical count, with the winning option being implemented, regardless of the level of support or opposition it may have received.
- Decision making by consent: The goal is to reach a decision that satisfies the concerns and objections of all participants. This may involve modifying proposals, finding alternative solutions, or addressing underlying issues until there is broad consent. The focus is on achieving a decision that is supported by the entire group.
- Relationship dynamics:
- Decision making by vote: The voting process can create winners and losers, potentially leading to divisions and strained relationships within the group. It may promote a competitive atmosphere and discourage collaboration.
- Decision making by consent: Consent-based decision making encourages open communication, active listening, and understanding among participants. It values the relationships within the group and aims to build trust, cooperation, and a sense of shared responsibility.
- Speed and efficiency:
- Decision making by vote: Voting can be a relatively quick process, especially in larger groups. However, reaching consensus or addressing concerns may take additional time, particularly if there is significant opposition or disagreement.
- Decision making by consent: Consent-based decision making may require more time initially to ensure that everyone’s concerns are heard and addressed. However, once the consent is achieved, the implementation of the decision tends to be smoother due to the collective buy-in and commitment.
Ultimately, the choice between decision making by vote and by consent depends on the context, the nature of the decision, and the values and goals of the group involved.
Both methods have their advantages and limitations, and different situations may call for one approach over the other.
I love consent decision-making because it is inclusive and generates decisions that are “good enough for now” and “safe enough to try” for all those people that work together in the same circle / domain to accomplish a common consented aim.
If you would like to share your comments or personal reflections on this topic, please feel free to do so in a comment below. Thank you.