How can sociocracy diminish "power over" and increase "power with" in a community / organization?

Sociocracy, also known as Dynamic Governance, is a social and organizational governance approach that aims to create more equitable and collaborative decision-making processes.

It seeks to diminish “power over” dynamics and increase “power with” dynamics in a community or organization through several key principles and practices:

  1. Consent-Based Decision-Making:

Sociocracy uses consent-based decision-making rather than traditional hierarchical methods. This means that decisions are made if there are no reasoned objections, ensuring that everyone’s concerns and perspectives are considered. This approach distributes power and influence across the group rather than concentrating it in a few individuals or positions.

  1. Circle Structure:

Sociocracy organizes an organization into circles or teams, each with specific roles and responsibilities. Circles (domains) are linked in a nested structure, allowing for distributed decision-making authority and fostering a sense of ownership and accountability among members.

  1. Double-Linking:

Circles are interconnected through double-linking, where two members have full membership and decision-making rights in both, the “child circle” and the “parent circle”. This creates a balanced distribution of decision-making power between the circles in the entire organization and a feedback loop that ensures that information and decisions flow both ways, reducing the potential for power imbalances.

  1. Slection Process:

Leadership positions and all the other roles in sociocratic circles are filled through a consent-based selection process, ensuring that individuals selected for these roles have the trust and support of the circle members. This reduces the likelihood of a single leader or group holding disproportionate power.

  1. Role Definition:

Sociocracy emphasizes role-based authority rather than personal authority. This means that power is associated with specific roles and responsibilities, not with individuals. As a result, decisions are made based on expertise and relevance to the role, rather than relying solely on hierarchical status.

  1. Continuous Improvement:

Sociocracy promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Circles regularly engage in feedback and evaluation processes, allowing for the refinement of decision-making processes and power dynamics over time. Performance reviews are a core part of improvement and progress.

  1. Transparency and Open Communication:

Openness and transparency are essential in sociocratic practices. This helps ensure that information is shared widely and decisions are understood by all, reducing the potential for information hoarding and power disparities.

  1. Conflict Resolution:

Sociocracy encourages the use of facilitated processes to address conflicts and tensions within circles. This ensures that power struggles are addressed openly and collaboratively, fostering a culture of “power with” rather than “power over.”

By implementing these principles and practices, sociocracy aims to shift the focus from traditional top-down power structures to more inclusive and participatory decision-making processes.

This can lead to greater trust, collaboration, and shared ownership within a community or organization, ultimately diminishing “power over” dynamics and increasing “power with” dynamics.

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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  3. How could people run a sociocracy based community / organization?

  4. How to build trust and relationships in sociocracy?

  5. How to build “Blue-Green Prosperity” using sociocracy?

  6. Does sociocracy offer better approaches for VUCA issues?

  7. What is the difference between wealth and prosperity and how sociocracy could foster Blue-Green Prosperity?

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