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Consensus Building

Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly.

A Manual for Group Facilitators Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Brian Auvine. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.

The role of group facilitator is often pivotal to good results for groups making the transition to consensus. The Manual is a great introduction to the concept of approaching the role of facilitator as someone who welcomes both rational and emotional input. The staff of the Center for Conflict Resolution put their experience in working with groups into A Manual for Group Facilitators. This is an informal outline detailing useful and effective techniques to help groups work well. More than a simple 'how to,' the manual contains a discussion of the values, dynamics, and common sense behind group process that have been verified by our own experience.

Resource Link: http://store.ic.org

A Practical Guide to Consensus Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson and Jim Arthur. Policy Consensus Institute.

This 75-page step-by-step handbook walks readers through the stages of sponsoring, organizing, and participating in a public policy consensus process. Designed primarily for government agencies or departments, the guide also is useful for any other sponsor of - or participant in - a consensus building process.

Resource Link: http://www.policyconsensus.org

Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now the Association for Conflict Resolution), 1997.

The recommendations in this report were developed through a joint effort of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector and the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Atlanta, Georgia, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This report focuses on best practices for government agencies and other users in the U.S. and Canada, reflecting the membership of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector. While potentially applicable to other countries, the recommendations will likely need to be tailored to the political frameworks, institutions and cultural norms in those societies.

Resource Link: http://acrnet.org/acrlibrary/more.php?id=13_0_1_0_M

Building United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision-Making Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Michael Avery, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streible and Lonnie Weiss. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.

Consensus decision making in groups can maximize cooperation and participation of all group members. Consensus brings together the needs, resources, and ideas of every group member by means of a supportive creative structure. This classic introduction to secular consensus was recently brought back into print by the Fellowship for Intentional Community. It is an excellent explanation of what it means to make the switch from voting to consensus, and how to unlock the potential of groups working with the whole person. Highly recommended, it is the companion publication to A Manual for Group Facilitators.

Resource Link: http://store.ic.org

Consensus Through Conversation: How to Achieve High-Commitment Decisions Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Larry Dressler. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006.

At a time when organizational hierarchies are flattening, workforces are becoming more geographically dispersed, and workers are demanding a say in what they do, consensus is more needed than ever. Consensus Through Conversation guides leaders and facilitators toward the proper use of consensus and away from applications that create the 'illusion of inclusion' and false agreement. It is a handy, vital reference readers can turn to in their efforts build enthusiasm and commitment on high-stakes issues.

Resource Link: http://www.consensustools.com

The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement Highly Recommended

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer. Sage Publications, 1999.

Whether you work in the corporate world, a nonprofit organization, or the government sector, you are likely face the need to work with others to solve problems and make decisions on a daily basis. And you've undoubtedly been frustrated by how laborious and conflict-ridden such group efforts can be. At all levels from neighborhood block associations to boards of directors of multinational corporations, the consensus building process is highly effective in an increasingly fragmented, contentious society. In addition, the old top-down methods such as Roberts Rules of Orders often prompt more problems then they solve.

The Ok Tedi Negotiations: Rebalancing the Equation in a Chronic Sustainability Dilemma Highly Recommended

Peter S. Adler, Janesse Brewer, and Caelan McGee. The Keystone Center. August 24, 2007.

Between November 2005 and June 2007, a team from The Keystone Center helped organize and implement a multiparty negotiation process aimed at increased redress for people affected by river contamination from the Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Ok Tedi is often cited as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the world. It is also a true sustainability dilemma. The mine produces 20% of PNG’s gross domestic product but it has also disrupted the traditional food webs and lives of more than 50,000 people by putting 90,000 tons of rock waste and tailings per day into the Fly River system. Download the 34-page report directly from the NCDD website.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Keystone-OkTedi.pdf

Trainer's Manual: Getting The Most Out Of Consensus Processes Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson, Policy Consensus Institute.

This Trainer's Manual, designed as a "workshop for public officials," provides essential information for any individual, agency or organization that participates in a collaborative process. The workshop is presented in eight modules, each covering an aspect of what has been found to be the "best practices" in participating in a collaborative or consensus building process. It is based on the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) Report, "Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Agreement-Seeking Processes."

Resource Link: http://www.policyconsensus.org

U.S. Consensus Council Highly Recommended

In April 2003, legislation was introduced in Congress to establish the United States Consensus Council (USCC), which would serve the nation by promoting consensus-based solutions to important national legislative policy issues. The USCC would convene the stakeholders on a given issue and seek to build 'win/win' agreements - those that reach the highest common denominator among the parties.

Resource Link: http://www.usconsensuscouncil.org

Wisdom Council workshop handouts Highly Recommended

Jim Rough and Deanna Martin.

Here are the five great handouts from "The Wisdom Council: A Tool for Empowering 'We the People'" - facilitated by Jim Rough and Deanna Martin at the 2006 NCDD Conference in San Francisco.

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