Consensus Decision-Making in Family Business

Consensus decision-making is a group decision-making process that seeks the consent, not necessarily the agreement, of participants and the resolution of objections. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its origin in a Latin word meaning, literally, “Feel together.” It is used to describe both the decision and the process of reaching a decision.
Consensus decision-making is thus concerned with the process of reaching a consensus decision, and the social and political effects of using this process. Consensus should not be confused with unanimity or solidarity.

The definition on Consensus Decision-Making by Wikipedia states that - The underlying principle of consensus decision making is the commitment to the process that provides for all parties to contribute ideas and freely discuss all the issues before taking the final decision. The objective of this model is "common good" of the group as the focus is on building relationship grounded in mutual trust and cooperation. Consensus decision making model creates a positive environment for the members of the family business to take important decisions.

If a family is committed to working together for a long time to come then consensus decision making model is ideal. Families who use this model discuss issues at hand until there is a full agreement. They then go forward to implement the decision taken. Even though all members may not have endorsed the decision, there is no voting which will polarize the members and divide them into groups. Research has revealed that families which have not been successful in sustaining their business have not employed the consensus decision making model. This is a significant point in favour of the model.

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