Consensus Building Handbook A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan & Jennifer Thomas-Larmer

Winner of the 1999 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)

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Over the past decade, consensus building has emerged as the most practical and effective way for groups of people — be they members of a permanent organization or disputants in a public conflict who come together on an ad hoc basis — to make decisions and solve problems. Consensus building is an agreement-seeking process that enables a group of people to satisfy everyone's primary interests and concerns. Using consensus-based approaches, people can develop solutions and make decisions that are more creative and widely supported than those made by using traditional methods. Agreements made by consensus are often more readily implemented, because people are more likely to support an agreement that they had a hand in shaping.


The Consensus Building Handbook is the first-ever comprehensive reference guide to building agreement in groups. It contains:

  • A "short guide" summarizing the essential steps and procedures in building consensus, intended for use as an alternative to Robert's Rules of Order.
  • Seventeen chapters that describe the phases, facets, and forms of consensus building, including "how-to" explanations for reaching agreement
  • Seventeen case studies that illustrate the variety of settings in which consensus building can be successfully employed.


Fifty-two leading authorities and internationally-recognized experts have contributed to The Consensus Building Handbook, including Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Max Bazerman, John Ehrmann, John Forester, Dwight Golann, Jane Mansbridge, Scott McCreary, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, William Moomaw, Howard Raiffa, and Eric Van Loon.

Consensus Building Handbook Attributes

Author: Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Jennifer Thomas-Larmer
Publisher: Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1999