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Organising Groups

This is a very quick framework list of WP articles related to what I'm looking for;

Group process

Political systems

"Participatory democracy is a process emphasizing the broad participation (decision making) of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems. While etymological roots imply that any democracy would rely on the participation of its citizens (the Greek demos and kratos combine to suggest that "the people rule"), traditional representative democracies tend to limit citizen participation to voting, leaving actual governance to politicians.

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a political group to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Because so much information must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, technology may provide important forces leading to the type of empowerment needed for participatory models, especially those technological tools that enable community narratives and correspond to the accretion of knowledge."

"Anticipatory democracy is a theory of civics relying on democratic decision making that takes into account predictions of future events that have some credibility with the electorate. It closely resembles the civic ideal of technocracy. The phrase was apparently coined by Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock, and was expanded on in the 1978 book "Anticipatory Democracy", edited by Clement Bezold.

Other well-known advocates of the anticipatory approach include Newt Gingrich, Heidi Toffler, K. Eric Drexler, and Robin Hanson. They all advocate approaches where the public, not just experts, participate in this "anticipation". To do this anticipation, prediction markets and other risk management techniques may be embedded into bureaucracies and agencies to overcome the groupthink inherent in such bodies, which makes it quite difficult for them to anticipate uncomfortable future events."

"Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy, comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. Depending on the particular system, this assembly might pass executive motions, make law, elect and dismiss officials and conduct trials. Where the assembly elects officials, these are executive agents or direct representatives, bound to the will of the people.

Direct democracy stands in contrast to representative democracy, where sovereignty is exercised by a subset of the people, usually on the basis of election. However, it is possible to combine the two into representative direct democracy.

Modern direct democracy is characterized by three pillars:

  • Initiative
  • Referendum including binding referendums
  • Recall
Referendums can include the ability to hold a binding referendum on whether a given law should be scrapped. This effectively grants the populace a veto on government legislation. Recalls gives the people the right to remove from office elected officials before the end of their term."

"Deliberative democracy, also sometimes called discursive democracy, is a term used by some political theorists, to refer to any system of political decisions based on some tradeoff of consensus decision making and representative democracy. In contrast to the traditional theory of democracy, which emphasizes voting as the central institution in democracy, deliberative democracy theorists argue that legitimate lawmaking can only arise from the public deliberation of the citizenry."

"Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision making to the process of legislation in a democracy. It is characterised by a decision making structure which involves and takes into account as broad a range of opinions as possible, as opposed to systems where minority opinions can potentially be ignored by vote-winning majorities[1]. Consensus democracy also features increased citizen participation both in determining the political agenda and in the decision making process itself. Some have pointed to developments in information and communication technology as potential facilitators of such systems.

Consensus democracy is most closely embodied in certain countries such as Switzerland, Lebanon, and Belgium, where consensus is an important feature of political culture, particularly with a view to preventing the domination of one linguistic or cultural group in the political process.[2] The term consociational state is used in political science to describe countries with such consensus based political systems. An example of such a system could be the Dutch Poldermodel."


"Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly. All draft documents, all arguments for and against a proposal, the decisions about the decision making process itself, and all final decisions, are made publicly and remain publicly archived.

The only exceptions to full transparency include data related to personal security or passwords or keys necessary for physical access required to carry out publicly negotiated decisions. Any technical actions which are perceived to be controversial or political are considered to lack legitimacy until a clear, radically transparent decision has been made concerning them."


"Open source governance is a political philosophy which advocates the application of the philosophies of the open source and open content movements to democratic principles in order to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of policy, as with a wiki document. Legislation is democratically opened to the general citizenry in this way, allowing policy development to benefit from the collected wisdom of the people as a whole."

"The open politics theory combines aspects of the free software and open content movements, promoting decision making methods claimed to be more open, less antagonistic, and more capable of determining what is in the public interest with respect to public policy issues.

While it can be confused with the newer idea of open source politics, open politics is not so much a movement as a theory based on participatory democracy and deliberative democracy, informed by e-democracy and netroots experiments, applying argumentation framework for issue-based argument as they evolved in academic and military use through the 1980s to present. Some variants of it draw on the theory of scientific method and market methods, including prediction markets and anticipatory democracy, even on wiki troll culture."

"Open source political campaigns, Open source politics, or Politics 2.0, is the idea that social networking and e-participation technologies will revolutionize our ability to follow, support, and influence political campaigns. Netroots evangelists and web consultants predict a wave of popular democracy as fundraisers meet on MySpace?, YouTubers? crank out attack ads, bloggers do oppo research, and cell-phone-activated flash mobs hold miniconventions in Second Life."

"E-democracy, a portmanteau of the words "electronic" and "democracy," comprises the use of electronic communications technologies such as the Internet in enhancing democratic processes within a democratic republic or representative democracy. It is a political development still in its infancy, as well as the subject of much debate and activity within government, civic-oriented groups and societies around the world.

The term is both descriptive and prescriptive. Typically, the kinds of enhancements sought by proponents of e-democracy are framed in terms of making processes more accessible; making citizen participation in public policy decision-making more expansive and direct so as to enable broader influence in policy outcomes as more individuals involved could yield smarter policies; increasing transparency and accountability; and keeping the government closer to the consent of the governed, thereby increasing its political legitimacy. E-democracy includes within its scope electronic voting, but has a much wider span than this single aspect of the democratic process."

Research and theory

"Organizational_communication#Current_Organizational_Communication_Research - "More recently, the field of organizational communication has moved from acceptance of mechanistic models (e.g., information moving from a sender to a receiver) to a study of the persistent, hegemonic and taken-for-granted ways in which we not only use communication to accomplish certain tasks within organizational settings (e.g., public speaking) but also how the organizations in which we participate affect us.

These approaches include "postmodern", "critical", "participatory", "feminist", "power/political", "organic", etc. and draw from disciplines as wide-ranging as sociology, philosophy, theology, psychology (see, in particular, "industrial/organizational psychology"), business, business administration, institutional management, medicine (health communication), neurology (neural nets), semiotics, anthropology, international relations, and music."

"Organizational studies, organizational behavior, and organizational theory are related terms for the academic study of organizations, examining them using the methods of economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, communication studies, and psychology. Related practical disciplines include strategic management, human resources and industrial and organizational psychology."

"Another smaller group of theorists have developed the theory of the Post-Bureaucratic Organization. Heckscher and Donnellson [1994], provide a detailed discussion which attempts to describe an organization that is fundamentally not bureaucratic. Charles Heckscher has developed an ideal type Post-Bureaucratic Organization in which decisions are based on dialogue and consensus rather than authority and command, the organisation is a network rather than a hierarchy, open at the boundaries (in direct contrast to culture management); there is an emphasis on meta-decision making rules rather than decision making rules. This sort of horizontal decision making by consensus model is often used in Housing cooperatives, other Cooperatives and when running a non-profit or Community organization. It is used in order to encourage participation and help to empower people who normally experience Oppression in groups."

"Community organizations are civil society non-profits that operate within a single local community. They are essentially a subset of the wider group of nonprofits. Like other nonprofits they are run on a voluntary basis and are self funding. Even within community organizations there are many variations in terms of size and the way they are organized. Some are formally incorporated, with a written constitution and a board of directors (also known as a committee), while others are much smaller and are more informal."


"Participation in social science is an umbrella term including different means for the public to directly participate in political, economic, management or other social decisions. Ideally, each actor would have a say in decisions directly proportional to the degree that particular decision affects him or her. Those not affected by a decision would have no say and those exclusively affected by a decision would have full say. Likewise, those most affected would have the most say while those least affected would have the least say. Participatory decision making infers a level of proportionate decision making power and can take place along any realm of human social activity, including economic (ie Participatory economics), political (ie Participatory democracy or parpolity), cultural (ie intercommunalism) or familial (ie Feminism).

"The term is used in management theory (as in "participatory management") to denote a style of management that calls for a high level of participation of workers and supervisors in decisions that affect their work. The term is also used in Participatory Economics or "parecon" as it is theorized and elaborated in that model.

For well-informed participation to occur, some version of transparency, e.g. radical transparency, is necessary, but not sufficient. It has been suggested in the participatory economics model that for full and meaningful participation to exist, some form of Balanced job complex is necessary: self-confidence, empowerment and information must be equitably distributed."

"Others, however, argue that if the democracy adheres to principles of consensus, becoming a deliberative democracy, then party or factional dominance can be minimized and decisions will be more representative of the entire society. This too is discussed in depth in the article on consensus decision-making, with many actual examples of the tradeoffs and different tests for consensus used in actual societies and polities."

"Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. Consensus is usually defined as meaning both general agreement, and the process of getting to such agreement. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned primarily with that process.

"A facilitator is someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion. The facilitator will try to assist the group in achieving a consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a strong basis for future action. The role has been likened to that of a midwife who assists in the process of creation but is not the producer of the end result.]

Preventing groupthink - "According to Irving Janis, decision making groups are not necessarily destined to groupthink. He devised seven ways of preventing groupthink (209-15): 1. Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts. 2. Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group. 3. The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem. 4. All effective alternatives should be examined. 5. Each member should discuss the group's ideas with trusted people outside of the group. 6. The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts. 7. At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil's advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting."


"Social Centres are community spaces. They are buildings which are used for a range of disparate activities, which can be linked only by virtue of being not-for-profit. They might be organizing centres for local activities or they might provide support networks for minority groups such as prisoners and refugees. Often they provide a base for initiatives such as cafes, free shops, public computer labs, graffiti murals, legal collectives and free housing for travellers. The services are determined by both the needs of the community in which the social centre is based and the skills which the participants have to offer.

Social centres tend to be in large buildings and thus can host activist meetings, concerts, bookshops, dance performances and art exhibitions. Social centres are common in many European cities, sometimes in squats, sometimes in rented buildings."

"The Forest is a volunteer-run, self-funded, independent social centre and arts space located on Bristo Place, central Edinburgh, Scotland. It is run by a collective of volunteers on a not-for-profit basis and houses a café, arts gallery and performance space, a free shop, small rehearsal/music studio, darkroom. It is also a registered charity."

Robert's Rules of Order - "The author's interest in parliamentary procedure began in 1863 when he was chosen to preside over a church meeting and, although he accepted the task, felt that he did not have the necessary knowledge of proper procedure. In his later work as an active member of several organizations, he discovered that members from different areas of the country had very different views regarding what the proper parliamentary rules were, and these conflicting views hampered the organizations in their work. He eventually became convinced of the need for a new manual on the subject, one which would enable many organizations to adopt the same set of rules.

"The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure is a book of rules of order. It is the second most popular parliamentary authority in the United States after Robert's Rules of Order It was first published in 1950. Following the death of the original author in 1988, the third (1988) and fourth (2001) editions of this work were revised by a committee of the American Institute of Parliamentarians.

The Standard Code omits several of the motions and sometimes-confusing terminology used in Robert's Rules of Order. The cover quote of the 2001 edition states, "Anyone who has trouble with Robert's Rules of Order will welcome the simplicity of this streamlined guide to parliamentary procedure." The Standard Code devotes a chapter to the differences between the two works, along with suggestions for those familiar with the Standard Code when participating in organizations that use "Robert's Rules" as their parliamentary authority."

See also

On Conflict and Consensus in other languages and formats

Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes - "This report focuses on best practices for government agencies and other users in the United States 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. ... The report is intended as the first in a series of cooperative efforts between researchers and practitioners to respond to the emerging challenges of using collaborative conflict resolution processes in the public policy arena."

The Internet Bill of Rights - A Dynamic Coalition of the Internet Governance Forum]

(C) MilkMiruku last change: July 12, 2008