Our community is in the process of deciding if sociocracy is the right model for us. What do you think are some indicators that a specific community is either a good fit, or not a good fit, for implementing sociocracy?

From my experience, there are two main factors:

  • Is the community willing to learn and to stick, at least to some extent, to the processes? It takes some commitment to create the clarity of processes and aims/domains we’re striving for.
  • Is the community willing to decentralize authority? The experience will be much less satisfying if there are a handful of people who want to remain a say on everything. Is there enough trust and accountability to let small groups do things, even important things, possibly only with feedback from everyone else?

To be clear, those are not unique to sociocracy. A community that doesn’t want to put in effort in their governance system will struggle no matter what governance system they will have. And secondly, a low-trust community will also suffer. But these are the factors that made an implementation joyful & satisfying or hard.

Another common challenge to be aware of in intentional community context: clarity and specificity of vision mission and aim(s).
VMA is a fundamental touchstone for consent decision making, in particular for processing objections.
VMA in in intentional communities (ICs) is often diffuse, vague, or just plain missing.
And/or, missing for particular aspects of community living.
And/or, based on ‘values’ where people agree to the ‘value’ words, without delving into what they will actually look like in daily life. In other words what are the implementations of those values. And then they find out how different that same ‘value’ word looks to different members in daily life.

A lot of daily life is about personal preferences, whether you’re in an IC or not.
Consent decision making is about designing to achieve collective aims (vision, mission). Personal preferences are not objections.
And, in an IC you never leave and go home, like you do from work, or most other contexts. You live there. So it’s always a factor, and in more domains of living.

This isn’t an ‘answer’ to how to decide re using sociocracy - just some additional key factors to be aware of in IC context. Personal preferences will be an issue for any governance system. Sociocracy offers a clear distinction between personal preferences, and objections based on VMA - collective purpose/goals. So if people are willing to work on holding that distinction, that can help.

Also, IC’s with significant outward facing VMA may have it a bit easier, since they are not just all about themselves and their personal preferences. They’re more like a business, nonprofit, or even grassroots group that has some focus on doing something in the larger world.