What’s the role of dissent within a non-profit organization? Here’s Peter Drucker’s answer, from his book Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Principles and Practices (Drucker includes churches as non-profit organizations):
…Important decisions are risky. They should be controversial. Acclamation means that nobody has done the homework.
Because it is essential in an effective discussion to understand what it is really about, there has to be dissent and disagreement. If you make a decision by acclamation, it is almost bound to be made on the apparent symptoms rather than on the real issue. You need dissent; but you have to make it productive.
About seventy years ago, an American political scientist, Mary Parker Follet, said that when you have dissent in an organization, you should never ask who is right. You should not even ask what is right. You must assume that each faction gives the right answer, but to a different question. Each sees a different reality.
Personally, I have found dissent to be a source of energy and inspiration in my work in UU congregations. Dissent may not be comfortable (especially when the people who dissent from me turn out to be right, as is often the case) — but a congregation without dissent would be dead.