Sociocratic governance – some hope for employees

Sociocratic governance – hope for employees

If you have had enough of stress at work or even want to avoid burnout, consider sociocracy. This method of dynamic governance is bringing satisfaction for employees, while developing productivity in organizations, as the Canadian geneticist David Suzuki says in his book Good News for a Change. What is this method of governance based on? What are the benefits? How is it deployed in companies?


Origin of sociocracy
Noting that his business was declining, a Dutch entrepreneur named Gerard Endenburg wanted to manage his business in a “more human” way. No sooner said than done… he was inspired by the philosopher Socrates – father of sociology – to develop in 1970 governance of people linked by meaningful relationships (“socios”). Although it is developed from difficult scientific principles, sociocracy is base on simple organization and operation on four pillars. The Circle: each member of the organization belongs to at least one circle which defines its own objectives, implements them, measures the results and makes any necessary adjustments. Consent: the majority no longer imposes its choice; each major decision is made with the consent of all without any reasonable objection. However, the circle can decide, by consent, that certain decisions will not follow the law of consent… What could be more logical! The Double Link: each circle is linked to the upper circle by two people, and not by a single person as is the case in the traditional hierarchy. Election without candidates: each person in the circle votes for the best person to take on a particular role, while justifying his choice. Apparently, we can trust in collective intelligence…


A plus for employees, a challenge for the employer
Imagine the situation – you are speaking during a round table, we’re listening to you, we respect you, we do not cut you off and your opinion is as important as that of your leader. Welcome to sociocratic governance! You could even ask, during these consultation circles, for a time of silence so that everyone has a little serenity. Thanks to this new form of governance you will develop a sense of belonging and pride related to your contribution and involvement in the circle. Even if your employer appreciates the benefits (lower staff turnover, improved innovation, increase productivity…), there may be some difficulties, since this governance is easier to implement in organizations that already practise the participative mode or are designed on the Japanese quality model in which “Taking more time to make decisions guarantees speed of execution.” However, our Western organizations put more value on quick decision-making – even autocratic, coming from a leader – even if it has had to endure complications at the implementation level for many years. So don’t be upset if deployment is slow, because it requires a coach or scrupulously following a plan developed in multiple stages – ranging from discovery of circles by employees to integration of sociocracy in the business, going through many stages of resistance, fear and doubt.

There is no need to set up on your own if you cannot stand the traditional hierarchical governance of businesses. Combining freedom of thought, speaking, participation in decision-making and employee status is now possible thanks to dynamic governance.

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