Sociocracy at Work
Within this, our circle and role structure is like the sheet music: you need it to understand how the music works (especially at the beginning!) but at the end of the day, it’s not what makes the music – what makes the music is what individuals do with it.”
Nothing AG (Switzerland)
Key Concepts of Sociocracy
Sociocracy focuses on organizational self-governance:
- consent as a pragmatic and inclusive decision-making method, and
- organizational structure with small empowered teams,
- a built-in practice to evolve and learn continuously.
Sociocracy and Other Frameworks
Sociocracy is often combined with agile, compassionate and integral frameworks.
Top-down implementations of sociocracy are possible but not typical. More often, it is a team effort of changer-makers in the organization re-designing its governance system from within. Purpose-driven organizations will find the best fit in sociocracy.
Who is Already Doing it?
This list is FAR from complete. Many learn about sociocracy and we might never hear about it.
Help us by telling us about your company – send an email to Ted (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Nothing AG (Switzerland)
- IT department, DTU (Denmark)
- Effinger (Switzerland)
- Coworking Lounge Tessinerplatz (Switzerland)
- subject:resoul (Germany)
- West Brabandt Homecare
- BioEnspiral (Brazil)
- 1STi (Brazil)
By giving people a voice, we are progressing to a new level of consciousness, ethics, and strategic awareness, activating collective intelligence, leadership development, and wholeness of presence in our company.”
- Open minds: hearing everyone the first time makes sure that people’s expertise is wanted – employees know a lot about how their work can be improved.
- Psychological safety: a meeting culture where it’s ok to share ideas, ok to care about something, and ok to make mistakes. Learning and making things happen go hand in hand.
- Nimble organizations: putting decisions closer to where the action is makes decisions faster and more realistic.
Can we just do some pieces, or is this a package?
Sociocracy is completely tailorable and is not owned or trademarked. You use what you want, and you learn from your experiences. (More on this topic.)
That said – you also decide how much time you want to invest in tweaking it. From our experience, starting out with a standard package saves some time and headaches.
Is sociocracy hard to do?
We have noticed that sociocracy is easiest to implement in a young organization. Yet, even established organizations can switch and enjoy smooth, action-oriented and connecting governance if they are serious about a trust-based, blame-free governance system.
Where do we start?
Featured Resources for Workplaces
Learning and Implementation
All SoFA Resources on Sociocracy in Workplaces
The Technical University in Denmark has an IT department that is running sociocratically.
A schematic few of performance reviews
When, and why is learning fun? How can we create a meeting where everyone is addicted to learning together?
Jutta Eckstein and John Buck presenting their BOSSAnova framework: a combination of agile, beyond budgeting, sociocracy, Open Space.
Presentation and conversation with Gregg Kendrick, a consultant working with non-violent communication and sociocracy in workplaces.
We seek out small producers and bring you their heirloom varieties of everything from apples to beans to tomatoes. Being a cooperative means that stewardship of the business is spread out among the workers.
10Pines is an Argentine Software company founded with the Agile manifesto values in mind. It is an open, participative, self-organised and trust-based company.
Codento is a change agent’s right hand helping with software development, IT Architectures and Agile Methodologies.
We are a digital design company (for-profit) based in Switzerland. Our overall purpose is simple: we want to create products which matter.
MEDIAGENIX has chosen to implement their version of sociocracy (more precise S3) based principles and patterns.
Our mission is to make financing understandable and accessible for everyone. We make products comparable and the process comprehensibly, so that customer can make the right decision: anytime and with trust and confidence.
Imago Relationships Worldwide is a network of Imago Relationships professionals and supporters in 17 countries, with the founders and majority of members in North America.
IT department of 45 people, embedded in a typical hierarchical IT organization of 190 employees, delivering IT-services and software development to the Universities 6000 employees and 12000 students.
What’s special about Jerry Koch-Gonzalez’s meetings is that they are sociocratic. How often have you been part of a call where one person in the group hardly had any chance to speak?
Curious about one of the roots of Holacracy? This overview of past and current also conveys the values and emotional flavor of this distributed-decision-making systems
Design company. The new processes were introduced gradually.
“Is there hierarchy in sociocracy?” is a fairly common question. And since people expect me to say no, I always say yes. Why? Because that’s the best way to get into a real conversation. Because the real answer needs to be given in a conversation, not in a quick statement, and not in a slogan.
Will sociocracy ever become mainstream? François believes it could, or at least the principles of sociocracy could, because it celebrates and respects both diversity as well as convergence through consent, enabling new perspective to emerge, all conditions for living organisations.
From leader to leadership. We formed a cross-functional unit out of 3 teams. Instead of autocracy or anarchy, we use sociocracy to foster alignment and autonomy, while taking our long-time agile software development practices into account.
As a business change consultant Simon Copsey was fortunate to employ tools from Sociocracy in a few different settings, from tactical to strategic – sometimes successful, and sometimes not – but always offering valuable lessons.
What can we learn from the principles of healthy living systems that we can apply to our organisations and how does Sociocracy fit into that? What other patterns can we use for designing our organisations that can help create systemic...
This case study features a proposal for a for-profit in the UK.
This case study features a for-profit in Germany This case-study is helpful if you are a for-profit Europace Inc. is a subsidiary company of Hypoport Inc. and has around 140 employees. Europace is Germany’s largest financial market place for real estate financing,...
This case study features a worker-owned software company Outlandish (in UK) has some very helpful insights from implementing sociocracy two times. They are now a successul sociocracy. You can also read this blog post about sociocracy that our Harry from Outlandish...
If you are a social enterpreneur, integrity in your decision-making will be important to you, and you’re not willing to compromise just because you’re just starting out. What do you need to know about decision making?