Tag Archives: The Netherlands

First Implementation

Kees Boeke and Betty Cadbury

Kees Boeke and Betty Cadbury
Kees Boeke and Betty Cadbury

When WW II began to engulf Europe, the first implementation of sociocracy was achieved. Before the war, Dutch educator Cornelius “Kees” Boeke and his wife, English educator Beatrice “Betty” Cadbury, had been active internationally in Quaker peace education, predominantly in the Middle East. Boeke was a vocal pacifist and spoke against war with Hitler. When WWI began the Boekes were expelled from England. In 1914, they settled in Kees Boeke’s hometown, Bilthoven, a small community in The Netherlands. They continued their peace work, actively supported pacifists, and started several European and International peace organizations.

The First Implementation: The Childrens Community Workshop

In 1926, the Boekes founded the first sociocratic organization.       Needing a school for their children, they started the Children’s Community Workshop and began adapting Quaker egalitarian principles to its governance. By 1945, the residential school community had grown to 400 students, staff, and teachers who participated as equals in school functioning and program design.  Decisions were made by consensus and no actions taken until everyone agreed. The school still exists and functions according the same principles.

Although confined to the Netherlands and arrested by the Germans during the occupation, Kees Boeke continued to write about the abuses of power that were becoming evident in democracies. His most well-known essay is “Sociocracy: Democracy as It Might Be.”

De School, Zandvoort, The Netherlands

De School LogoDe School in The Netherlands was founded using the sociocratic organization method under the guidance of Annewiek Reijmer of the global center, the Sociocratisch Centrum.

The school has become famous in Holland because it offers a 50-week school year in order to meet parents needs for childcare as well as education for their children. The children, as young as six, work with the parents, the teacher, and an outside expert to evaluate the student’s progress and set goals for the next study period. The school is committed to meeting national standards for education. Within that, the team consents to educational goals.

Children meet in classroom circles to discuss classroom conduct, problems, and solutions, and make other policy decisions including spending the budget for toys, books, etc.

De School’s Website

Sociocracy at Endenburg Elektrotechniek

Statement from the Endenburg Elektrotechniek Website about their sociocratic governance:

A Circle Meeting at Endenburg Elektrotechniek
A Circle Meeting at Endenburg Elektrotechniek

The word “sociocracy” is derived from the Latin word socius,  neighbor or fellow, and the Greek word kratein, to rule. As a form of governance, sociocracy is based the equivalence of individuals, but not in the sense that “the majority rules,” as in democracy. In sociocracy a decision may only be made if one has a well-founded counter-argument. (This is called the consent principle). Sociocracy offers the individual thus more participation in decisions. So much for the theory.

At Endenburg we have known the sociocratic tradition since the 1970s. Our employees have a voice in policy, and that happens through service (department) circles, business (management) circles, and the top circle. In the service circles, all employees meet with their departments. The business circle formed by MT members and elected representatives from the service circles. In addition, we have a so-called Top Circle which includes the management, delegates from the business circle, and external experts.

Our sociocratic foundation leads in practice to greater involvement and job satisfaction among employees. This is demonstrated by the quality of service. And thus the contributions of sociocracy also contributes to better work for our clients.

The Original in Dutch:

De term sociocratie is afgeleid van het Latijnse woord ‘socius‘ (= medemens) en het Griekse woord ‘kratein‘ (=regeren). Als bestuursvorm gaat sociocratie uit van de gelijkwaardigheid van individuen, maar niet in de betekenis dat ‘de meeste stemmen gelden‘, zoals bij democratie. Bij sociocratie kan een besluit alleen genomen worden als niemand een gefundeerd tegenargument heeft. (Dit noemt men het consentbeginsel). Sociocratie biedt het individu dus meer beslissingsinspraak. Tot zover de theorie.

Bij Endenburg kennen we sinds de jaren 1970 een sociocratische traditie. Onze medewerkers hebben zeggenschap in het beleid, en dat gebeurt via de dienstkringen, bedrijfskring en topkring. In de dienstkringen hebben alle medewerkers zitting van de betreffende afdeling, de bedrijfskring wordt gevormd door MT leden en gekozen afgevaardigden vanuit de dienstkringen. Daarnaast kennen we een zogenaamde TopKring waarin o.a. de directie, afgevaardigden vanuit de bedrijfskring en externe deskundigen zitting hebben.

Onze sociocratische grondslag leidt in de praktijk tot grotere betrokkenheid en meer werkplezier bij de medewerkers. Dit werkt aantoonbaar door in de kwaliteit van de dienstverlening. En daarmee draagt sociocratie ook voor onze opdrachtgevers bij aan ‘het betere werk.‘

http://www.endenburg.nl/endenburg-profiel.php?item=7 Last accessed  2 September 2012.