Ralph Stacey's agreement & certainty matrix

This paper from Brenda Zimmerman outlines the use of Ralph Stacey's Agreement & Certainty Matrix. The tool is a method for selecting appropriate management actions in a complex adaptive system based on the degree of certainty and level of agreement on the issue in question.


"Potential context for use

  • Choosing between management or leadership approaches for a specific issue or decision.
  • Making sense of an array of decisions (or agenda for a group).
  • Communicating with others why a particular approach is appropriate.
  • When innovations and creative alternatives are needed, this matrix can be used to deliberately try to increase the uncertainty and disagreement to nudge the system to the edge of chaos." (Zimmerman, 2001)


Zimmerman, B.,(2001). Ralph Stacey's Agreement & Certainty Matrix, Schulich School of Business,
York University, Toronto, Canada.