Consensus Decision Making: A Guide to Men's Organizing Work

Men’s Action Network Calgary (MAN-C) developed this consensus decision-making protocol through our organizing work with men on healthy relationships and violence prevention. The Protocol is based on western social justice activism, Baha’i teachings and Indigenous-centered teachings. A few members created the Protocol and shared with members of MAN-C and later, Alberta Men’s Network for feedback and endorsement. We hope that this will be a useful resource for anyone involved in social justice organizing.

Consensus is often dismissed as being a time-consuming process, but in actuality it is faster, more efficient, and more reliable than the traditional methods of decision-making. Consensus compels the group to ‘out’ their concerns and disagreements from the onset, instead of harboring them or ‘beating around the bush’. Although a meeting that uses the consensus method may be longer than one where a majority vote is utilized, the non-consensus formats oftentimes do not create group ‘buy in’ on decisions. This kind of commitment by the group is often an essential element of the outcome and follow-through. Also, if there are group members who were voted down or remained silent about their disagreement with the decision, these issues will often pop up later in the process when the decision is being implemented.

Download the toolkit to learn more.