History and Philosophy

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  “practical” truths. “People live and work more productively when they are respected equally and have freedom of choice.”

But freedom and equality are still values. Societies rejecting these values, including nations, have been functioning for hundreds of years. Nature itself does not reflect these values. They are not inherent. They are unique to democracy, sociocracy, and some religious teachings.

The sociocratic principles, that everyone be valued equally (“equivalence”) and have control over the conditions in which they live and work (“consent”), are designed to establish and maintain values with the purpose of creating harmony in our lives, organizations, and workplaces.

Values give our lives purpose. We act because we value. 

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4 replies »

  1. I agree, but I do see more and more evidence of people striving to achieve similar goals even though they may go about it differently. The principles of sociocracy, however, are what make it workable and ensures control over the consensus process. A major problem is that people don’t understand governance. They see it as a set of laws, not a process of constructing and revising community agreements.

  2. My pleasure Sharon. My area of focus is in investments, real, direct investments: investing capital (millions and billions) into hard assets that must be made to work, operate and create something tangible. I find a great deal of similarity in what I do and and the adoption of sociocratic methods. Projects that run sociocractically are more successful and more likely to make money than those that are not. Remember also that they do not call themselves “sociocratic.” Working well in a group, where your contribution flows easily to its maximum potential, takes a great deal of courage both on the individual and especially on the leader. This is where Ricardo Semler excels. I like to think of sociocratic methods as simply being adult – no ego, no hidden agendas, no covert activities. They are a lot more fun too, for everyone.

    (I note that Google doesn’t recognise the word yet in its spell checker “sociocratic” and “sociocracy”- it’s not being used enough!)

  3. Thank you for leaving such a helpful comment. I remember your post on sociocracy. I particularly liked this question:

    “How to achieve great success, great results, rewards and satisfaction in a manner which is harmonious to the group, to other participants, and to the world in general?”

    On Semco, Gerard Endenburg has done quite a bit of work with Terra Viva which is in Brazil and Ricardo Semler also has contacts with The Netherlands. I think it is too much of a coincidence that many of his concepts and vocabulary are also central to sociocracy

  4. Yes, this is a good post. Sociocracy is both a non-secular and non-polarising form of social arrangement.

    It takes a lot of maturity and confidence in once self to be a member of a sociocratic society.

    I see Ron Paul as being a promoter of such methods even if it not labelled as such, and hence I’ll use his performance in the public arena as a gauge of acceptance of such thinking.

    Picking up in the order of 10% of votes when vying for US presidency in 2008 and 2012 it indicates that about 10% of the population understand and want sociocratic – or common sense – consensual societal management. For the remaining 90%, one can say that common sense is not so common.

    There’s a ways to go to move from colour coordination (red vs blue) to more appropriate consensual methods for managing ourselves.

    I made comments about this aspect on my post a couple of years ago (link below).

    Sociocray is the system for the 21st century. We just have to grow up to use it.


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