Category: History and Philosophy

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.

Values and Purpose

The principles and methods of sociocracy are often presented as “empty” meaning they can be used by any kind of organization to accomplish any aim. Values and purpose have no place in scientific method the argument goes. Sociocracy is based on studies of how things work in nature (cybernetics) and how people function in groups (sociology). It is free of ideology—any religious, economic, or political world view. No hidden agendas. No value system. Equivalence and self-determination are… Read More . . . “Values and Purpose”

Gerard Endenburg: The Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method

Photograph of Gerard Endenburg in 2010 A Sociocracy for Business It was a graduate of the Boekes’ school, Dutch electrical engineer Gerard Endenburg, who developed a method for implementing sociocracy in a competitive, results-oriented corporation. After completing his military service, he worked at Philips where he invented the small speakers still used in mobile devices. In 1968, he became the managing director of this family’s electrical engineering company, Endenburg Electric. As an engineer, Gerard Endenburg found it frustrating that he could… Read More . . . “Gerard Endenburg: The Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method”

Outside Experts on the Board of Directors

Residential communities customarily do not have board of directors members from outside the organization. Corporations normally do, but they may not be chosen by their ability to balance expertise. Non-profit organizationsThe Delibrative Democracy Consortium (DDC)u is an alliance o... More and independent schools often choose board members based on their ability to raise money or influence government or foundation decision-makers. Balanced Expertise Balanced expertise on the board of directors steers the organization from multiple perspectives.… Read More . . . “Outside Experts on the Board of Directors”

Meetings Are Not the Work

We need to remind ourselves that meetings are not the work. Much work is done in meetings and they can be exhausting, but the focus of a meeting is action. Determining effective actions. Defining desired actions. Evaluating failed actions. Or bemoaning lack of action. Possible Sources of Confusion In several contexts lately it has become clear that many of us have drifted into confusing meetings with the work, and even as the substance of organizational… Read More . . . “Meetings Are Not the Work”

Are Your Meetings Content or Process?

In several contexts lately the conversations about organizing sociocratically have drifted to the problem of confusing circle meetings with the work of the circle, and even circle meetings as focus of sociocracy. Evidence of this is that we discuss process and enforcing process without discussing the quality and application of decisions in our work. The questions are more often about officers and consent than evaluating the effect of recent policy decisions on operations, worker effectiveness,… Read More . . . “Are Your Meetings Content or Process?”

Three Principles of Sociocracy

The numeral 3 in orange. Three Principles vs Four There were originally three principles of sociocracy: (1) Consent to policy decisions, (2) circles arranged in a circular hierarchyA round pyramid is the term used by Ricardo Semler in Maver... More to make policy decisions, and (3) double linking between circles. The election of people to roles and responsibilities was intended to be a part of the first principle of consent. Allocation of resources involves the allocation of human resources as… Read More . . . “Three Principles of Sociocracy”