COMBINING
EQUITY

WITH
SOCIOCRACY

"it’s a process that requires a commitment to continuous learning and growing"

DEBORAH CHANGE

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A new approach to doing

To fulfil sociocracy’s promise that all voices matter, we must be intentional about making sure the voices of people who are most impacted are heard. In our pursuit of a society that thrives sustainably, it is people who are closest to the problem that are closest to the solution.

The principles are interdependent and the application of all of them is required for an organisation to function socioracially. Each one supports the successful application of the others. The principles also require transparency in the organisation. Since decision-making is distributed throughout the organisation, all members of the organisation must have access to information. The only exception to this is proprietary knowledge and any information that would jeopardise the security of the organisation or its clients. All financial transactions and policy decisions are transparent to members of the organisation and to the organisation's clients.

In addition to the principles, sociocratic organisations apply the circular feedback process of directing-doing-measuring to the design of work processes, and in business organisations, compensation is based on a market rate salary plus long-term and short-term payments based on the success of the circle. The operational practices of sociocratic organisations are compatible with the best practices of contemporary management theory.
 

Principle 1

Decisions are made when there are no remaining "paramount objections", on a basis of informed consent from all participants. Objections are reasoned and argued based on the ability of all to work productively toward the goals of the requirement.

Principle 2

The organisation structure consists of a hierarchy of semi-autonomous circles. Representing a horizontal association, each circle has the responsibility to execute, measure, and control its own processes in achieving its goals. It governs a specific domain of responsibility and are also responsible for their own development and for each member's development.

Principle 3

Individuals acting as links function as full members in the decision-making of both their own circles and the next higher circle. A circle's operational leader is by definition a member of the next higher circle and represents the larger organisation in the decision-making of the circle they lead. Each circle also elects a representative to represent the circles' interests in the next higher circle. These links form a feedback loop between circles.

At the highest level of the organisation, there is a “top circle”, analogous to a board of directors, except that it works within the policies of the circle structure rather than ruling over it. The members of the top circle include external experts that connect the organisation to its environment. Typically these members have expertise in law, government, finance, community, and the organisation's mission. In a corporation, it might also include a representative selected by the shareholders. The top circle also includes the CEO and at least one representative of the general management circle. Each of these circle members participates fully in decision-making in the top circle.
 

Principle 4

This fourth principle extends principle 1. Individuals are elected to roles and responsibilities in open discussion using the same consent criteria used for other policy decisions. Members of the circle nominate themselves or other members of the circle and present reasons for their choice. After discussion, people can (and often do) change their nominations, and the discussion leader will suggest the election of the person for whom there are the strongest arguments. Circle members may object and there is further discussion. For a role that many people might fill, this discussion may continue for several rounds. When fewer people are qualified for the task, this process will quickly converge. The circle may also decide to choose someone who is not a current member of the circle.