What are inherent biases in sociocracy? [discussion]

There’s nothing with no bias. Sociocracy has bias too.

What would you name as biases of sociocracy? I’ve already given an answer in Many Voices One Song where @jerry.koch-gonzalez and I wrote:

There are a few biases that seem to be baked into sociocracy, and we are aware of it:

  • Sociocracy is biased toward people who speak compellingly.
  • Sociocracy is biased toward people who can form and express ideas with little preparation.
  • Sociocracy is biased toward people who are able and willing to follow formats.

We can be aware of these biases and try to work around them. For example, a good facilitator can summarize what someone has said to make sure the group can harvest the wisdom in it. Circle members may request to go last in a round because it takes them a while to think something through. If we own and acknowledge these challenges, we can be allies to those who have a harder time expressing themselves and find creative solutions together. Another creative solution we have found. If there is someone who prefers having time to think before speaking, start a round by a minute of silence for everyone, and during that time everyone plans what they are going to say. Over a round of 6 people each speaking for 1-2 minutes, we can easily save time by taking a minute for people to sort their thoughts.

The last bias, the advantage of people who are able and willing to follow a format, we address with support, charts, posters on the wall and clear prompts. Rounds are useful to harvest people’s ideas and seem to neutralize (not marginalize) people whose contributions do not seem constructive. But if someone is "off’’ very often, it is hard to include their voice. There have been experiments with substitutes. For example, the actual circle member is not at the meeting but someone else takes their viewpoint and speaks for them. We know it can be done - but it takes quite some effort to do so.

Do you agree with us? What’s missing from the list?

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