Skip to main content

Paving Consensus: Enacting, Challenging, and Revising the Consensus Process in a Cohousing Community

Buy Article:

$55.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


This study focused on a cohousing community's use of consensus to make a decision about surfacing a parking area. It revealed that the community's use of consensus decision making allowed the residents to balance three goals: making an appropriate decision, meeting members' needs, and maintaining the community's well-being. Reaching agreement, however, was complicated by members' value differences and discontinuity in their participation. The analysis of this case reveals three qualities characteristic of the enactment of consensus: the role of structured communication within and between group meetings, a tension between maintaining process openness and reaching decision closure, and the expectation that group members will work within the consensus process. The analysis also highlights the importance of timing in the interpretation of conflict in a consensus-oriented group and the role of process change when a group reaches the limits of members' commitment to consensus.

Keywords: Cohousing; Consensus; Decision Making; Decision Rules; Dialectic Tension; Functional Theory; Group Communication

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-05-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more