In contrast, some participants in past conferences have had strong negative reactions to mentions of equality, participation in decisions, and consensus which were seen as asking for role confusion, intolerable delays in decisions, and stalled initiatives.
Balancing equality vs.hierarchy is an example of one of many challenges for which there are no risk-free, easy answers. In response to this uncertainty, it is not uncommon for people to develop hardened, polarized positions---a process Oshry calls "dancing into the tunnel of limited options." (Barry Oshry, Seeing Systems, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2007).
Instead, by recognizing and accepting the lack of risk-free, simple answers, more nuanced strategies can be developed. For example, types of decision making might vary in different situations. Or, consensus decision making might include back-up resolution methods to assure timelines.The objective is to increase everyone's capacity to "respond complexly to complex situations." (Oshry 2007)