Update: It was reported in 2013 that Mondriaan is no longer using all the principles and practices of the sociocratic circle-organization method but has devised a structure that accomplishes the same goals.
Mondriaan for Mental Health (Mondriaan for Mental Health Zorggroep Heerlen), a private institution, is one of the largest mental health treatment facilities in the Netherlands, providing inpatient and outpatient services to more than 14,000 adults, adolescents, and children in the province of Limburg in the south of the country. The organization is an accredited training and research institute for psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurse specialists. It has more than 2,300 employees in over 44 locations.
The institution merged several times from 2000-2007 but the six divisions were poorly integrated. Top-down management meant decisions about patients were made by those with little contact with patients. Information on treatment and procedure solutions were not shared across the organization. Meetings were so disorganized managers often made decisions without consultation. In the absence of effective leadership, some employees became leaders by default or personal forcefulness.
In 2004, the largest division of Mondriaan, the Integral Care Division in Parkstad, The Netherlands, with 700 employees working in 44 teams in 2012, began training with the Sociocratic Center in Rotterdam (now The Sociocracy Group, an international organization). One of their nurses, Dominique Ducornez, became a certified trainer and continues to do training.
Teams Function as Colleagues
With a radical departure from Mondriaan’s traditional hierarchical approach operations now function effectively. Teams now function as colleagues with everyone taking responsibility for successful outcomes; they put their protocols and procedures in writing; managers and employees respect all viewpoints when making decisions; policies and aims are more clearly understood; program evaluation and improvement are ongoing; teams are more cohesive, and decision-making is faster and smoother. Patient care has improved.
Based on a case history by Sheella Mierson of the Sociocracy Consulting Group, a division of The Sociocracy Group in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with the assistance of Dominique Ducornez, the certified sociocracy trainer at Mondriaan. A PDF of the case history is available online:
Original Description: Distributed Leadership: Improved Patient Care at a Mental Health Care Treatment Facility.