Sociocracy is a method of organizing a task-focused group, such as a Zen Peacemaker Circle, by accomplishing three things:
- It creates equivalency in decision making among the participants of a sociocratic circle,
- It consciously creates feedback loops which are essential for steering a dynamic organization, and,
- It creates linkages between the various levels of the organization.
The process also requires that decisions be made in accord with the Principle of Consent and utilizes special facilitation methods for discussions and elections. This methodology is heavily used to inter-link the Zen Peacemaker Circles both functionally and geographically.
It is also important to see and understand that the Sociocratic method of organizing and decision making apply only to the establishment and definition of policy. The operational procedures and programs by which policy is implemented or practiced are in the realm of day-to-day operations and execution which utilizes other models of organization.
The process was originally developed by Dr. I. Gerard Endenberg and trainings are offered by the Center for Sociocracy (www.sociocratie.nl). A resource work is Dr. Enderberg’s book, Sociocracy: the Organization of Decision Making.
We have borrowed from the “Sociocratic” model as our foundation. This model is an outgrowth of both cybernetics and democratic decision making. It is designed to address three common problems in organization models:
- People in traditional models do not have equivalency in decision making power or access to decision making processes. Through a process of electing representatives to the next higher level, a degree of equivalency is achieved.
- It is very difficult in hierarchical organizations for information to flow up and down through the “chain of command,” especially bad news from below. In order to steer a dynamic process such as an organization in the midst of constant change, it is essential that there be a “feedback loop” that provides timely information about what is actually happening within the organization.
- In most hierarchical organizations, there is usually a “disconnect” between the executive level and the operating management and between the operating management and the people actually doing the work of the organization. Through the selection and participation of people into the “feedback” role at the next higher level, this disconnect is bridged.