Approaches to multi-stakeholder decision making

Thanks to Ian Seath and his newsletter:   

for this summary of approaches to decision-making that groups can use:

1.        Authority – the person with the most authority makes the decision (may be the most senior person). While it is efficient and fast, others may not agree, nor be committed to the decision.

2.        Minority – a small sub-set of people “railroad” a decision through. Again, not great for buy-in.

3.        Majority – generally recognised as a reasonably “fair” approach, but the timing of a vote is often critical as is the wording of options given. May divide a group and result in a disaffected minority.

4.        Unanimity – everyone genuinely and wholeheartedly agrees. Often difficult to achieve and may not always be necessary.

5.        Consensus – everyone supports the decision having heard and participated in the debate. Even if it wasn’t some people’s preferred option, they will still support the outcome. Group members are highly committed to the decision, but consensus can be difficult and slow to achieve.

6.        Fate – you could simply toss a coin. Fine where people are happy to “go with” either outcome (“heads we have pizza, tails we go for Mexican”).

7.        “Plop” – in some cases a lack of response also results in a decision. For example, some ideas may simply get bypassed or passed over and ignored by a group. In effect, there is a common decision not to support the idea.

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