I would like to share here a 13 pages article that I recently wrote on this subject. In this paper, I try to explain how the concepts underlying sociocratic design can be used to analyze the fact that the prevalent paradigm in modern societies generate a systemic overcoming of limits (both environmental and human limits).
So this paper is written for an audience of people and organizations concerned by climate and other aspects of the global ecological crisis, who don’t already know sociocracy. It can also be of interest for sociocratic practitioners who want to deepen their understanding of sociocracy as a way to redesign society.
I need some help !
First I wrote the paper in French, made a translation with deepl.com, and then made some manual improvements. As English is not my mother tongue, I ask if some of you would be willing to read it and add some comment for improvement of the writing.
My second need is to find some ideas of online journal where this article could be read by people concerned by ecology and social change, even if they never heard of sociocracy before.
And of course, I am also open to your feedback about the subject of the article and the way I present it.
It is in a Google Document with the first two pages made of a short summary of a TV documentary on ecological crisis, where a sociocratic co-housing in Wien, Austria, is presented as an effective social innovation for the future.
Here it is : Sociocracy, ecological crisis, social change - January 2023.docx - Google Docs
I am waiting to meet and discuss with you !
Salut. As-tu un lien vers la version en français?
Peut-être que ça peut intéresser https://reporterre.net/
Bonjour Damien !
J’ai publié la version française cette semaine ici :
Je suis aussi preneur de publications en français qui trouveraient de l’intérêt à diffuser cet article. J’avais regardé Reporterre mais mon texte me paraissait hors format (trop long et théorique pour un site d’information en ligne).
Thanks for the link.
I found it quite thorough and interesting. I would add a reference to Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” as a good critic of horizontal organizations.
I also liked that you pointed out the ethnocentricrity of Laloux’s book. One other major omission in his book are coops. I’m not sure where you stand on that, and would have appreciated a word on this form of organizing.
I agree with you that feedback and consent decision making are a necessity for responding to the ecological crisis, but I don’t believe sociocracy is.
From what I saw, groups who implement sociocracy rarely do implement feedback loops. I myself have been ostracized in a sociocratic community after whistleblowing. My takeaway from this experience is sociocracy is no magic bullet, and to function as intended, there is the prerequisite that members have enough maturity, which is most likely not the case in our current society that feeds on people’s wounds. This is where NVC can help though.
In a general sense I don’t believe sociocracy is a good fit for intentional communities as this structure was made for a context where people worked together daily, which is not the case in a community of neighbors, nor citizens. We need a governance model that embraces consent decision making and feedback loops, like sociocracy, but that can handle larger size of groups of people who have fewer relational ties to each other.
I can mention that I have updated recently the French and then the English version of the article, after I got some comments and ideas from my wife, to improve clarity of the expression.
I appreciate your comments.
The subject of cooperatives would be interesting to explore in an other article. It is connected to the subject of democracy inside organizations that Endenburg discuss in his book. He explains what convinced him not to transform his business in that way, and preferred to build a system of enterprise without owner.
I agree with you on the fact that our current society makes it quite difficult for people to behave in a sociocratic way, even if they formally take decisions by consent in circles. A group that doesn’t implement feedback loops is not sociocratic, it is at best on the way to learn sociocracy. The role of leaders is key in this process. Leaders who choose sociocracy should not only be trained, but also have the help of people outside their organization. Just like a psychotherapist, getting supervision is a sign of maturity and humility.
To go further, an organization cannot be fully sociocratic if it does not connect with other sociocratic entities. One cannot be sociocratic in a closed system. That is why we have created at the French Center of Sociocracy (CFS) a sociocratic leader certification, which will allow to develop a community of peers supporting each other. At our level, this is also why we are developing links between CFS and SoFA.
I also share your observation that sociocracy is not in itself sufficient to manage the whole society, because it does not meet the governance needs of a large population, made up of people who do not have common goals to achieve and/or no direct relationships. However, I believe that it can help us to think in a systemic way about the regulation of these groups. It is a vast subject!