Kategoriarkiv: People

Respect for people

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore Bob Emiliani’s emphasis on Respect for People.1

Bob Emiliani has written several books and papers where he presents Lean as a management system. He describes the interplay between the Continuous Improvement and Respect for People principles in Lean.

The Respect for People principle ”extends back to the 1900s.”2 Respect for People is ”deceptive in that it seems very easy to understand and apply, but it is not.”3

The principle consists of two parts at Toyota: (1) To ”respect others,” and ”make every effort to understand each other,” in order to ”build mutual trust.” (2) To ”stimulate personal and professional growth,” and to ”share opportunities of development,” in order to ”maximize individual and team performance.”4,5,6

Respect for People can ”never be completely comprehended.” ”It takes years of thought and practice” to understand it well.7

The Respect for People principle ”has been around for many decates,” but it has ”only rarely … been put into effective practice.” The focus has instead been on ”the near-singular pursuit of productivity and efficiency improvements to lower costs and increase profits.”8

Already in the 1800s, ”business thinkers … began to press for improved cooperation.” R. Whatley Cooke-Taylor wrote, for example, in 1891 about the ”strained relations often existing under the modern factory system.” He pointed out ”some grave dangers … which the future may have in store for us in this connection.” The ”cure” Cooke-Taylor proposed was ”that of co-operation.”9

”Co-operation,” in this case, meant a business ”operated jointly by labor and management,” combined with ”profit-sharing.” Respect for People was seen as ”a practical necessity to reduce conflict and help achieve higher productivity, lower costs, and better quality.”10

Taiichi Ohno wrote in 1988 that the ”most important objective of the Toyota System has been to increase production efficiency by … eliminating waste.” But Ohno also wrote that ”respect for humanity” is ”equally important,” and that the ”respect for humanity” has been passed down from Toyoda Sakichi (1867–1930), the founder of the company, to Toyoda Kiichiro (1894–1953), Toyota Motor Company’s first president.11

I think that the Respect for People principle is generally applicable, regardless of whether its Lean, Agile, or something else. And I find it interesting that Toyota’s Respect for People was lost with the birth of Lean thirty years ago. Similarly, I think the Respect for People in Sociocracy, i.e., the emphasis on equivalence,12 has been lost in Holacracy, where the process is all that matters.13

I agree with Bob Emiliani that the Respect for People principle is ”anything but trivial to understand.”14 Too many are too focused on processes and tools ”to notice the foundational principles.”15

1 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008) (accessed 2017-01-14).
2 Ibid., p. 1.
3 Ibid., pp. 1, 8.
4 Ibid., p. 2.
5 Toyota Motor Corporation, The Toyota Way 2001 (Toyota City, April 2001).
6 Toyota Motor Corporation, Sustainability Report 2007, p. 57.
7 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 2.
8 Ibid., p. 2.
9 R. Whatley Cooke-Taylor, Modern Factory System (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd, London, 1891), pp. 459–461.
10 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 3.
11 Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production (Productivity Press, Portland, 1988), p. xiii.
12 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making (Eburon, 1998), pp. 44, 167, 168.
13 Brian J. Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy (Penguin, 2015), pp. 21, 110, 111.
14 Bob Emiliani, The Equally Important ”Respect for People” Principle (2008), p. 8.
15 Ibid., p. 5.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Bob Emiliani on Scientific Management and Lean Management

Carol Black on the wildness of children

Carol Black writes the following in On the Wildness of Children (my emphasis in bold):

When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry. … But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust.

The same people who do not see themselves as “above” nature but as within it, tend not to see themselves as “above” children but alongside them. They see no hard line between work and play, between teacher and student, between learning and life. It is a possibility worth considering that this is more than coincidence.

The underlying belief that somebody always has to be in charge is stubbornly persistent, woven into our thinking at a very deep level. There always has to be a subject and an object, a master and a slave. We have forgotten how to live and let live.

Control is always so seductive, at least to the ”developed” (”civilized”) mind. It seems so satisfying, so efficient, so effective, so potent. In the short run, in some ways, it is. But it creates a thousand kinds of blowback, from depressed rebellious children to storms surging over our coastlines to guns and bombs exploding in cities around the world.

— Carol Black1

1 Carol Black, On The Wildness of Children, April 2016. (Accessed 24 April 2016)

Life-nurturing vs. life-depleting behaviors

The environment within which people work is key to the organization’s success. Life-nurturing conditions contribute to high creativity and productivity, while life-depleting conditions contribute to apathy and low productivity.

Life-nurturing behaviors 1 Life-depleting behaviors 2
Listening Controlling
Understanding Punishing
Trusting Regulating
Sharing Telling
Clarifying Shaming

1 These are some of the behaviors listed in Birgitt Williams, The Genuine Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership, (DALAR, 2014), p. 221.
2 Ibid..

The fine art of shutting up

Ernesto Sirolli

If people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. 1

The most important thing is passion. … The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. 2

Planning is the kiss of death of entrepreneurship. 3

We have discovered that the miracle of the intelligence of local people is such that you can change the culture and the economy of this community just by capturing the passion, the energy and imagination of your own people. 4

1 Ernesto Sirolli @ (05:02), Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!, YouTube, Published 26 Nov 2012. (Accessed 27 March 2016)
2 Ernesto Sirolli @ (06:26).
3 Ernesto Sirolli @ (10:44).
4 Ernesto Sirolli @ (15:41).

The toxic handler

Peter J. Frost and Sandra Robinson presents their research on The Toxic Handler: Organizational Hero—and Casualty in the July–August 1999 issue of the Harvard Business Review. They write that:

Toxic handlers voluntarily shoulder the sadness and the anger that are endemic to organizational life.

Toxic handlers alleviate organizational pain in five ways:

  • They listen empathetically.
  • They suggest solutions.
  • They work behind the scenes to prevent pain.
  • They carry the confidences of others.
  • They reframe difficult messages.

But toxic handlers also pay a high price themselves in creating a life-giving environment within the larger toxic organization.

Managing organizational pain is vital to the health of the enterprise—but at great cost to the health of the toxic handlers themselves.

I wonder if it’s worth it to risk your health?

Holding space

Heather Plett writes here what it means to ”hold space” for people, and how to do it well. It’s something all of us can do for each other. She writes (my emphasis in bold).

”[Holding space] means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” 1

”To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.” 2

1 Heather Plett, What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, 11 March 2015. (Accessed 19 March 2015)
2 Ibid..

A rainbow of intelligences

Lasse Ramquist and Mats Eriksson believe that we all can access each one of the following intelligences. The more we use them, the more they develop.

Color Values Strenghts Weaknesses
Beige Survival Brings full energy to the job at hand if something is at stake. 1 Falls into complacency when feeling safe. 2
Purple Belonging Builds strong relationships with colleagues, and always ready to help. 3 Sense of belonging is not necessarily to colleagues or the organization. 4
Red Concrete operational logic Quickly finds the best solution to practical challenges. 5 Stubborn and aggressive self-confidence. 6
Blue Rules and roles Uses basic routines and simple rules that make things work. 7 Blindly follows structures and procedures. 8
Orange Rationality and creativity Ignores rules, if necessary, to achieve the objectives. 9 Believes the ends justify the means. 10
Green Contextual logic Listens closely to the viewpoints of everybody involved. 11
Yellow Visionary and integral logic Wants to understand how everything fits together. 12
Turquoise Global and holistic logic Understands that the organization and its environment co-exist and co-evolve. 13

1 Lasse Ramquist & Mats Eriksson, Integral Management, 2nd Edition, p. 162.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid., p. 163.
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid., p. 164.
12 Ibid..
13 Ibid., p. 165.

Book Review: Who am I?

Steven Reiss had a life-threatening illness which led him to rethink what makes life meaningful. His research formed the basis of his book Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality. Steven Reiss describes at length the 16 basic desires1 that he identified together with Susan Havercamp:

  1. Power is the desire to influence others.
  2. Independence is the desire for self-reliance.
  3. Curiosity is the desire for knowledge.
  4. Acceptance is the desire for inclusion.
  5. Order is the desire for organization.
  6. Saving is the desire to collect things.
  7. Honor is the desire to be loyal to one’s parents and heritage.
  8. Idealism is the desire for social justice.
  9. Social Contact is the desire for companionship.
  10. Family is the desire to raise one’s own children.
  11. Status is the desire for social standing.
  12. Vengeance is the desire to get even.
  13. Romance is the desire for sex and beauty.
  14. Eating is the desire to consume food.
  15. Physical Activity is the desire for exercise of muscles.
  16. Tranquility is the desire for emotional calm.

Each desire must fulfill the following criteria2:

  1. The desire must be valued intrinsically rather than for its effects on something else. That is, it must be sought for its own sake.
  2. The desire must have explanatory significance for understanding the lives of nearly everyone.
  3. The desire must be largely unconnected to the other basic desires.

I found Steven Reiss distinction between feel-good happiness and value-based happiness interesting3, but otherwise I’m not convinced by Reiss’ arguments. I think, for example, that idealism and vengeance are related. Read Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran and you will see that an act of vengeance also can be an act of idealism. Also, being influenced by Christopher Alexander, I think real beauty 1) can be valued intrinsically, 2) have explanatory significance for understanding our lives, and 3) is largely unconnected to the other 16 desires – most notably romance and sex. Actually, I think the desire for real beauty is related to, but more basic than, the desire for order. I might be wrong, but I suspect that it’s our personalities that motivate our desires, and not our desires that motivate our personalities.

1 Steven Reiss, Who am I?: The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personality, (Berkley, 2002), pp. 17–18.
2 Ibid., p. 33.
3 Ibid., pp. 123–141.

Lasse Berg om san-folkens egalitära kultur

I sin bok Gryning över Kalahari: hur människan blev människa skriver Lasse Berg om san-folken och deras kultur (min betoning i fetstil):

Hos san-folken råder en strängt egalitär kultur. 1

Samförstånd är det som gäller i alla san-grupper. … Men på samma sätt som jämlikhet inte betyder likhet, så kan samförstånd inte likställas med demokrati. Visserligen finns det inget auktoritärt eller formaliserat ledarskap, … men det är inte heller så att man röstar sig fram till någon sorts majoritetsbeslut. Vuxna och ungdomar samtalar om det som behöver bestämmas kollektivt … Men man diskuterar inte tills alla är överens utan tills man hittar ett beslut som ingen motsätter sig tillräckligt starkt. Naturligtvis väger olika röster olika tungt, beroende på speciell kunskap eller erfarenhet, när det gäller att forma denna allmänna samsyn. Ledarskapet är auktoritativt, inte auktoritärt. Det sociala trycket att komma överens är starkt, för att uttrycka det försiktigt. Samarbetsvilja har mycket hög kulturell status. 2

Men tvister uppstår naturligtvis. De är oftast av personlig art. … Det allmänt accepterade sättet att lösa konflikter är inte som i vår kultur att så tidigt som möjligt klargöra motsättningar och lyfta fram dem till diskussion. Istället utmärks san-kulturen av … utpräglad konflikträdsla. Man föredrar … att i första hand skämta bort problemet. Helst i elegant metaforisk form så att ingen tappar ansiktet eller blir utskämd. En spänd situation kan plötsligt punkteras av ett skämt som får lyssnarna att formligen vrida sig av skratt. Gränsen mellan skratt och vrede är ofta nästan osynlig. Det betyder inte att man inte tagit det hela på allvar, utan att man behandlat tvisten i inlindad form. 3

1 Lasse Berg, Gryning över Kalahari: hur människan blev människa, Ordfront Stockholm, 2005, s. 256.
2 Ibid, s. 261.
3 Ibid.

Bonnitta Roy on how self-organization happens

Bonnitta Roy writes in How Self-Organization Happens … and why you can trust it on Medium.com that

Self-organization = Intention x Identity x Interaction.

Here is a summary of Bonnitta Roy’s article.

Values drive all organizational life
. Our thoughts are constantly floating on waves of shifting intention-motivational states, or value-streams. These value-streams create waves of thoughts and actions. There is no way to insulate oneself from these value-streams.

Furthermore, It’s easy to confuse official scripts for the value-streams, which are more precise than the abstractions commonly used to represent organizational life. The value-streams reflect what is most relevant and real. They surface the information needed when making decisions or solving problems.

Identities emerge from negotiating values
. We constantly size up each other and negotiate our power relations. We naturally fall into our roles, which are identities we assume in order to distribute the physical, cognitive, or psychic energy load required to fulfill our values (needs).

We are beginning to see how to allow for flexible identities and creative role-playing. Over time, a group of people with fixed roles can transform into a real team where roles and identities are in creative interplay, and outcomes are novel and emergent.

The challenge is that we are not used to letting go of old identities. This is probably because we have lived our lives inside institutions where role-identities represent authoritarian and disciplinary power. The roles and identities that people would want to perform need to emerge.

Trust supports interaction
. Trust cultivate the capacity to be with what is human and natural and real in organizational life. Trust is an outcome of being allowed to show up as we actually are, as we actually feel, with our actual dreams and fears. Trust is all about allowing what is actually happening, rather than what should be or is demanded to be.

We might be able to limit bodily behavior, but we cannot control internal thoughts. We might be able to constrain conversations to official roles and scripts, but we cannot constrain the unofficial conversations people share. We might be able to constrain actions to normative standards by using disciplinary power, but we will never be able to eliminate deviant activities that result from those constraints.

People intuitively know what is relevant in the moment, even if they have trouble communicating it. An honest response of how one feels about a decision often gets deeper to the root solution than a rational argument. The relevant content of what is actually happening need to inform decision-making and responsive action taking.

Related post:
Bonnitta Roy on an open architecture for self-organization

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents

Self-driving cars are involved in twice as many accidents as ordinary cars1 because they always obey the law. People just don’t expect anyone to actually follow all rules without exception.2

1 Brandon Schoettle & Michael Sivak, A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World Crashes Involving
Self-Driving Vehicles, The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, October 2015.
2 Humans Are Slamming Into Driverless Cars and Exposing a Key Flaw, BloombergBusiness, December 18, 2015.

Generous listening

In generous listening you don’t even listen in order to understand why the other person feels the way they do. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s true for this person, and you simply receive it and respect it. And in that safe interaction something can happen which is larger than before. And that’s all you need. You already are enough. You are enough.
— Rachel Naomi Remen

Generous Listening: Rachel Naomi Remen shares how to use generous listening.

Ralph Stacey on rule-following

Ralph Stacey writes that we have to think of global organizational order as continually emerging in myriad local interactions,1 and that it is highly simplistic to think of human beings as rule-following beings.2 In our acting, we may take account of rules but can hardly be said to blindly follow them.3

The essential and distinctive characteristic of human beings is that we are conscious and self-conscious beings capable of emotion, spontaneity, imagination, fantasy and creative action. We are essentially reflexive and reflective.4 We do not interact blindly according to mechanistic rules, but engage in meaningful communicative interaction with each other.5 We establish power relations between ourselves.6 And we also exercise at least some degree of choice as to how we will respond to the actions of others.7 In addition, we use tools and technologies to accomplish what we choose to do.8

This means that consciousness, self-consciousness, reflection and reflexivity, creativity, imagination and fantasy, communication, meaning, power, choice, evaluation, tool use and sociality should explicitly be brought to any interpretation, as regards human beings.9

1 Patricia Shaw and Ralph Stacey (editors), Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organizational Change: Working live, (Routledge, 2006), p. 125.
2 Ibid., p. 126.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Principles for making organizations work

John Gottman writes about what successful relationships look like and how to strengthen them in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work together with Nan Silver. Below is a summary of Bob Marshall’s adaptation of these principles to organizations:

  1. Enhancing “Love Maps”. Flourishing organizations are familiar with their peoples’ worlds and needs.
  2. Nurture Fondness And Admiration. In flourishing organizations people respect each other and have a general positive view of each other.
  3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead Of Away. Flourishing organizations have more goodwill and positivity stored in their ”emotional bank accounts,” so when rough times hit, their emotional savings cushion conflicts and stressors.
  4. Invite Colleagues To Influence You. Flourishing organizations are places where people consider each other’s perspective and feelings, make decisions together, and search out common ground.
  5. Solve solvable problems. Soften your startup. Make and receive “repair attempts”. Soothe yourself and then each other.  Compromise. It’s important to take each other’s thoughts and feelings into consideration, and to be tolerant of one other’s faults.
  6. Overcome Gridlock. Flourishing organizations believe in the importance of everyone – the organization included – helping each other attend to their needs. Try  to remove the hurt so the problem stops being a source of great pain.
  7. Create Shared Meaning. Flourishing organizations create a community culture that attends to everyone’s needs. In being open to each other’s perspectives and opinions, flourishing organizations naturally thrive.

People evolve their own responses

A mechanical system simply acts according to its instructions. But a living system, with its internal intelligence and complex feedback organisation, reacts to the meaning it finds in the information. The system selects the messages to which it listens and then evolves its own response.1

Human beings are a prime example of living systems with internal intelligence and complex feedback responses.2

1 John McCrone, Review: Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra, The Guardian, 2002.
2 Philip Harland, The Power of Six, (Wayfinder Press, 2009), p. 51.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Jo Freeman’s essay on The Tyranny of Structurelessness is about the tyranny of ”elites”, where an ”elite” is defined as ”a small group of people who have power over a larger group of which they are part”. The problem with these ”elites” is that they don’t have ”direct responsibility to that larger group, and often without their knowledge or consent”. The conclusion then is that these ”elites” should ”at least [be] responsible to the group at large”. This means, for example, that the ”rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone”. The assumption is that a ”formal structure” can ”hinder the informal structure from having predominant control”. I’m not so sure! I don’t think formal structures help if all people care about are their own ”elitist” interests. I think the cognitive model of human beings as rule-followers is inadequate.

Närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor

Agneta Lagercrantz skriver i SvD 2015-09-15 att närhet ger bäst vila för våra hjärnor. Tillsammans med våra allra närmaste sjunker nämligen stresspåslagen i hjärnan helt. Mänsklig gemenskap signalerar till hjärnan att den kan vila. Social närhet påverkar våra känslor, och våra känslor påverkar hjärnans aktiviteter. Till exempel beror kollektiv intelligens, förmågan till problemlösning i grupp, på hur bra varje gruppmedlem är på att läsa av ansiktsuttryck hos varandra.

Dee Hock on control

Life is not about control. It’s not about getting. It’s not about having. It’s not about knowing. It’s not even about being. Life is eternal, perpetual becoming, or it is nothing. Becoming is not a thing to be known, commanded, or controlled. It is a magnificent, mysterious odyssey to be experienced.1

… I have long puzzled where mechanistic organizational concepts originated, and why we are so blind to their reality. Their genesis reaches back to Aristotle, Plato, and even beyond. However, it was primarily Newtonian science and Cartesian philosophy that fathered those concepts, giving rise to the machine metaphor. That metaphor has since dominated our thinking, the nature of our organizations, and the structure of industrial society to a degree few fully realize.2

For nearly three centuries we have worked diligently to structure society in accordance with that concept, believing that with ever more reductionist scientific knowledge, ever more specialization, ever more technology, ever more efficiency, ever more linear education, ever more rules and regulations, ever more hierarchal command and control, we could learn to engineer organizations in which we could pull a lever at one place, get a precise result at another, and know with certainty which lever to pull or for which result. Never mind that human beings must be made to behave as cogs and wheels in the process.3

The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self—one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts. It is a never-ending, difficult, oft-shunned task. The reason is not complicated. It is ignored precisely because it is incredibly more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behavior of others.4

Everyone is a born leader. Who can deny that from the moment of birth they were leading parents, siblings, and companions? Watch a baby cry and the parents jump. We were all leaders until we were sent to school to be commanded, controlled, and taught to do likewise.5

People are not “things” to be manipulated, labeled, boxed, bought and sold. Above all else, they are not “human resources.” We are entire human beings, containing the whole of the evolving universe. We must examine the concept of superior and subordinate with increasing skepticism. We must examine the concept of management and labor with new beliefs. We must examine the concept of leader and follower with new perspectives. Above all else, we must examine the nature of organizations that demand such distinctions with new consciousness.6

Only in a harmonious, oscillating dance of both competition and cooperation can the extremes of control and chaos be avoided and peaceful, constructive societal order be found.7

In organizations of the future, it will be much more important to have a clear sense of purpose and sound principles within which many specific, short-term objectives can be quickly achieved, than a long-range plan with fixed, measurable objectives. Such plans often lead to futile attempts to control events to make them fit the plan, rather than understanding events so as to advance by all means in the desired direction.8

In organizations of the future the centuries-old effort to eliminate judgment and intuition, art if you will, from the conduct of institutions will change. Organizations have too long aped the traditional mechanistic, military model wherein obedience to orders is paramount and individual behavior or independent thinking frowned upon, if not altogether forbidden. In organizations of the future it will be necessary to have people in every position capable of discernment, of making fine judgments and acting sensibly upon them. The industrial age trend toward stultifying, degrading, rote work that gradually reduces people to the compliant, subordinate behavior one expects from a well-trained horse will not continue.9

It extends far beyond a factory worker on an assembly line. Vast white-collar bureaucracies exist everywhere, with mountains of procedures manuals depressing minds, avalanches of directives burying judgment, forests of reports obscuring perception, floods of studies inundating initiative, oceans of committees submerging responsibility and drowning decisions. You know what I mean. You have endlessly suffered through it and, worse yet, may be inflicting it on others. It has created a society of people alienated from their work and from the organizations in which they are enmeshed. Far too much ingenuity, effort, and intelligence go into circumventing the mindless, sticky web of rules and regulations by which people are needlessly bound.10

1 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 7.
2 Ibid., p. 37.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., p. 48.
5 Ibid., p. 55.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid., p. 226.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid., p. 227.
10 Ibid.

Related posts:
Dee Hock in his own words
Dee Hock on rules
Agile software development in the 1970s

What if control is inappropriate?

My conclusion after having read Brian Robertson’s new book on Holacracy and Gerard Endenburg’s first book on Sociocracy is that neither Holacracy nor Sociocracy replace Command & Control (C&C). Both use C&C within limits.

This triggered feedback from Holacracy people that the Lead Link Role doesn’t manage day-to-day work and doesn’t manage others, but that there is definitely control in Holacracy. All Roles ”have the authority to control and regulate” their own Domains (Holacracy Constitution v4.1, 1.4 Authority Over Domains). There is definitely control in Sociocracy too.

My follow-up question is: What if control in itself is inappropriate?

Here is an interesting article on The ”Command and Control” Military Gets Agile by Daniel Mezick, which contains references to writers within the military who challenge control themselves. Key points are that complex situations cannot be controlled, and control is in fact an emergent property, not an option to be selected. Here are a few quotes:

The word “control” is inappropriate … because it sends the wrong message. It implies that complex situations can be controlled, with the implication that there is the possibility of an engineering type solution. … But this is a dangerous oversimplification. The best that one can do is to create a set of conditions that improves the probability that a desirable (rather than an undesirable) outcome will occur and to change the conditions when what is expected is not occurring. Control is in fact an emergent property, not an option to be selected. … The argument that … commanders in the military or… management in industry do not have control creates cognitive dissonance. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly the case. The widespread belief that we have control is merely an illusion, and a dangerous one at that. The literature on complex adaptive systems explains why the notion of control as a verb is misguided.1

…any Complex Adaptive System…cannot be controlled or ruled: a CAS will simply find ways of working around the rules if the context in which it formed remains viable. … The basis of these … systems of working … are based upon very simple trusts — not rules …
Essentially, the tension is … between trusts and rules.

Attempts to control complex systems … tend to be pointless at best or destructive at worst.3

And here are quotes from some non-military references:

For life, where freedom of choice in acting exists, control and prediction is impossible, attempts to control are destructive to life and lead to chaos. If we examine the causes of our failing institutions, it is easy to show that attempts to control them, violating normal processes of life, makes them fail.4

We talk and write about leaders and managers being in control of organizations. In the reality of our experience, however, no one can control the interplay of intentions, because they cannot control what everyone else in every other organization is choosing and doing. Consequently, no one can choose or be in control of what happens.5

For nearly three centuries we have worked diligently to structure society in accordance with that concept, believing that with ever more reductionist scientific knowledge, ever more specialization, ever more technology, ever more efficiency, ever more linear education, ever more rules and regulations, ever more hierarchal command and control, we could learn to engineer organizations in which we could pull a lever at one place, get a precise result at another, and know with certainty which lever to pull or for which result. Never mind that human beings must be made to behave as cogs and wheels in the process.6

1 David S. Alberts, The International C2 Journal | Vol 1, No 1, 2007, pp. 15—16.
2 Simon Reay Atkinson & James Moffat, The Agile Organization: From Informal Networks to Complex Effects and Agility, pp. 5—6, 7.
3 Stanley McChrystal, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, (Penguin, 2015), p. 68.
4 Norm Hirst, Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organisms, (Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 4, nos. 1-2, 2008), p. 93.
5 Ralph Stacey, Dialogic Organization Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change / Gervase R. Bushe & Robert J. Marshak, editors, (Berett-Koehler, 2015), p. 153.
6 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 37

Related posts:
The big misconception in sociocracy
Dee Hock on control
Harrison Owen on control
Fritz Perls on control
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Traditional vs. Sociocratic vs. Holacratic Command & Control
Holacracy vs. Sociocracy
Book Review: Holacracy by Brian Robertson
Book Review: Sociocracy by Gerard Endenburg
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic
Autognomics: Radical Self-Knowing
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Carl Rogers on person-centered leadership

Soul of Business

The causes of much of what happens in our lives lie far deeper than we imagine. The Soul Biographies by Nic Askew look beneath the surface of our lives, work and society at an unusual depth. And in doing so, the films open our eyes wide to what people and organizations might become.