The New Era paradigm: Governance flows out of Sociocracy
Sociocratic Principles & Methods
WEBMASTER on JUNE 13, 2010
What is Sociocracy?
Sociocracy is a method of governing organizations that produces greater commitment, higher levels of creativity, distributed leadership, deeper harmony, and dramatically increased productivity. The principles and practices, based on the values of equivalence, effectiveness, and transparency, are designed to support both unity and the dignity of each individual.
Why Is It Different?
Sociocracy vests power in the socius, the companions, the people who regularly interact with one another and have a common aim. Decisions are made in consultation with each other, in consideration of the needs of each person in the context of the aims of the organization.
By contrast, democracy vests power in the demos, in the population, without respect to their understanding of the issues or of each other. In a democracy, the majority of the demos can ignore the minority of the demos when they make decisions. This inevitably produces factions and conflict rather than harmony. It encourages people to build alliances, trade favors, and think politically rather than achieving the aims of the organization.
An autocracy vests power in one person or set of persons, an auto that can ignore the rest of the organization and make decisions without consultation. This discourages the development of leadership and creative ideas in the organization. This can also produce bad decisions because other members of the organization are afraid to share negative information. While some associations are democratic, most are autocratic with power vested in a board of directors. Employees and members alike can be ignored. Non-profits, like businesses, are almost exclusively autocratic.
In a sociocratic organization, whether it is a business, an association, or a community, power is vested in all members of the organization. Each person has the power and responsibility to make the decisions that govern their own participation in the organization.
The Three (or Four) Basic Principles
Observing the basic principles is important because they ensure that the organization doesn't slip back into autocratic or disorganized decision-making. There are many more practices and methods that are essential to implementing the basic principles but these requirements guide the adaptation of those methods to specific circumstances. The three basic principles are essential.
The principle of consent governs policy decision-making. Consent means a member has no argued and paramount objections to a proposed policy. Argued means reasoned or explained. Paramount means all important. An objection is not a veto; it is a valid reason why a particular decision will prevent a member of the group from doing their job or otherwise supporting its aims.
Objections are solicited because they provide positive information. The reasoning behind them allows the group to improve the proposal so all members of the group can work toward the aim more effectively.
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