Understanding the history and theory of both democracy and sociocracy provides a deeper understanding of the principles and practices of what a sociocracy or sociocratic democracy might be, and why. Knowing the intention and development of an idea supports the meaningful application of its principles and practices in everyday life.
Q. So what are systems and why do a sociocratic organizations meet that definition?
A system is a grouping of parts that share a common purpose. Organizations are systems of people who share a common purpose or aim.
A Grouping of Parts
The parts must be defined. A lawnmower doesn’t work with just any old part. It works because specific parts do specific jobs. All parts can expect specific behaviors from other parts.
In order… Read More . . . “What Are Systems?”
Today I completed a post on organizational structure that I began writing in 2010 on “The Tyranny of Structurelessness,” an article by Jo Freeman published in various versions from 1971-1973. She discussed the problems with the women’s movement in the late 1960s and 70s that began to believe that structurelessness in and of itself was an organizational ideal that would solve the problems of autocratic rule and the exclusion of women and minorities. She defines… Read More . . . “Organizational Structure and Equality”
Q: Discussions of consensus on cohousing discussion lists seem to be focused on or limited to facilitated, time-bound, decision-making events rather than building a culture of relationships in a community. Is this intentional?
Questions about consensus generally do focus on the technicalities and problems of using consensus to make decisions in meetings. And building community is one objective of using consensus because it ensures that the interests of everyone will be taken into consideration. However,… Read More . . . “Consensus: Community or Decision-Making”
Stand asides are a time-honored practice in majority vote decision-making. They are used when a person wants their vote recorded, but can’t vote yes, doesn’t want to vote no, and doesn’t want to abstain. Usually it means the person disagrees but has agreed to stand aside and allow the decision to go forward. Sometimes it means that they have a conflict of interest and want the record to show that they were not voting, but… Read More . . . “Stand Asides”
I find the word block in consensus decision-making destructive. It is particularly counter-productive when used to refer to all objections, rather than seemingly unresolvable objections.
Objections do feel like blocks when after hours of discussion a person or persons will not consent — I find myself feeling this too. And sometimes when I object, in my gut I really want to block. I don’t want to argue the point, I just want to BLOCK. The… Read More . . . ““Blocks” & Vetos in Consensus Decision-Making”
I love rounds. They do many things but the most important to me is that they give everyone a chance to speak without raising their hand and waving it until the facilitator or discussion leader sees it, worrying about their place in the queue rather than listening, or counting to see if everyone else has had a chance to speak before you can speak again. Rounds place the focus on what is being said, not… Read More . . . “Resistance to Rounds”
This site is a resource on sociocracy and democracy and the ways they support each other. It examines the principles and practices and the ways in which together they could better achieve their objectives. How would things get done in a sociocratic democracy?
New Edition of We the People
Updated and expanded second edition is now available in paper and digital versions—and in Spanish and Portuguese translations.
The sociocracy email discussion list was started in 2002. The list language is English, but members speak many languages if you have translation questions. We discuss anything related to sociocracy, democracy, and collaborative governance.