Each decision-making method has its strengths and is appropriate under certain circumstances. Each also has particular consequences for the group’s future operation. An effective group understands each method of decision-making well enough to choose the method that is best for:

  • The history of the group

  • The type of decision to be made

  • The nature of the task being worked on

  • The amount of time and resources available

  • The kind of climate the group wishes to establish

  • The type of setting in which the group is working

There are both positive and negative aspects of all types of decision-making! While no method is perfect, you should choose the one that best fits your group and situation.

Perfect consensus means that everyone agrees what the decision should be. Unanimity, however, is often impossible to achieve. There are degrees of consensus, all of which bring about a higher quality decision than majority vote or other method of decision-making.

Adapted from Johnson and Johnson, Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills