How can competition and cooperation coexist in sociocracy?

Competition and cooperation can indeed coexist within the framework of sociocracy, a governance and decision-making method that aims to create more inclusive and effective organizations.

Sociocracy emphasizes both collaboration and the ability to address conflicts and differences constructively.

Here’s how competition and cooperation can coexist within the context of sociocracy:

  1. Shared Vision, Mission and Aims:

Sociocracy encourages organizations to establish and clearly communicate their shared vision, mission and aims. This creates a common ground for members to understand the broader goals and objectives of the organization, fostering cooperation towards those shared goals.

  1. Circle Structure:

Sociocracy divides an organization into circles (domains), which are semi-autonomous units responsible for specific tasks or functions. These circles can operate with a degree of autonomy, allowing for healthy competition between circles in terms of performance and innovation.

  1. Double-Linking:

Double-linking is a key concept in sociocracy where each circle has two representatives participating in the decision-making of both the parent circle and the child circle. This promotes cooperation by ensuring communication and coordination between different circles, facilitating the exchange of information, resources and best practices, while having the freedom to seek to be more effective and efficient in their work.

  1. Consent Decision-Making:

Sociocracy uses consent decision-making, where decisions are made unless there are reasoned objections. This process encourages open discussion and collaboration to find solutions that work for all those working together. Even in cases where there might be competition or differing opinions, the focus is on finding common ground and ensuring that decisions are acceptable to all involved.

  1. Transparency, Feedback and Continuous Improvement:

Sociocracy encourages transparency, regular feedback and continuous improvement. Circles engage in feedback loops and reflection, allowing for the identification of areas where competition might lead to improvements. This iterative process promotes a cooperative approach to refining processes and practices.

Through transparency, real life experiences and innovations can become a source of inspiration for other sociocracy practitioners, for different circles or even for the entire organization. Also, in a transparent organizational environment, any unsuccessful approach can be avoided by others, thus leading to the overall well-being of the entire community.

  1. Conflict Resolution:

Sociocracy emphasizes addressing conflicts openly and constructively. This includes using tools like rounds of consent decision-making, facilitated discussions, and mediation to find solutions that balance the interests of different parties. Effective conflict resolution contributes to an environment where cooperation can thrive despite moments of competition.

  1. Role Definition:

Sociocracy places importance on clear role definitions and accountabilities within circles. This clarity can help manage competition by ensuring that individuals and circles understand their responsibilities and contributions to the organization’s overall success.

  1. Dinamic-Adaptive Governance:

Sociocracy is designed to be dinamic (adaptable and flexible), allowing organizations to evolve and respond to changing circumstances. This adaptability enables a balanced approach to competition and cooperation as the organization navigates various challenges and opportunities.

In summary, sociocracy provides a structure and set of principles that can enable competition and cooperation to coexist harmoniously within an organization/community.

By emphasizing shared vision, mission, aims, communication, transparency, feedback, and conflict resolution, sociocracy helps create an environment where both healthy competition and effective cooperation can contribute to the organization’s success.

If you want to share your personal reflections on this topic, please feel free to do so in a comment below. Thank you.

Best wishes!


  1. Start here:

  2. Sociocracy – basic concepts and principles:

  3. Why Sociocracy For All (SoFA)?

  4. Social Justice Statement of Sociocracy For All:

  5. Sociocracy For All in the news

  6. Sociocracy basic resources

  7. SoFA Membership - Why join Sociocracy For All?

  8. Sociocracy Training

  9. More sociocracy resources: articles and videos

  10. SoFA events

  11. Many Voices One Song – A sociocracy manual

  12. Who Decides Who Decides? - How to start a group so everyone can have a voice!

  13. Let’s decide together - The definitive guidebook for practicing decision-making with children

  14. Meeting Evaluation Cards - This is the Meeting Evaluation Cards product by Sociocracy For All

  15. Case studies

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