Kategoriarkiv: Sociocracy

Real vs. fake sociocracy

Introduction
Bob Emiliani writes about real vs. fake Lean on his blog.

Emiliani’s point is that real Lean includes respect for people.

I think there is a similar situation with real vs. fake sociocracy.

Fake sociocracy
Gerard Endenburg says, for example, in this article that the greatest danger when introducing sociocracy is that it is half done.

It is so simple, and many people think it is. They are using it in a way that makes me think: no!

Our experience is that often only consent is introduced, but not the other principles. First, the double link is omitted.

In other words, fake sociocracy leaves out key elements.

Real sociocracy
I know from having read Gerard Endenburg’s two major books on sociocracy that equivalence is very important for Endenburg.

Real sociocracy is based on the core value of equivalence.

However, equivalence can be abused in many subtle (and not so subtle) ways.

Interview with Gerard Endenburg

Here is Ben Kuiken’s interview with Gerard Endenburg ”Sociocracy is the only way forward”.

Endenburg says that: ”Even in his own former company, the adjacent Endenburg Electronics, the double clutch [double-link] is no longer intact.”

This means that Endenburg Electronics isn’t fully sociocratic any longer. It’s not mentioned in the article, but the reason seems to be that Piet Slieker is no longer CEO. (However, I haven’t got this confirmed.)

Endenburg also says that: ”… the biggest misunderstanding about sociocracy: it is not anti-hierarchical. Hierarchy means nothing else than order, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

Maybe the hierarchy was too strong at Endenburg Electronics, since the double-link didn’t survive the change of CEO?

Endenburg sees hierarchy as necessary for order. Being influenced by David Bohm, I’d say information, and its meaning, is necessary for order. Hierarchy is an explicate order, while meaning is implicate.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

 

 

Analysis of Sociocracy and Holacracy

This post is part of my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore the history and key assumptions of Sociocracy and Holacracy®. The post is based on my previous posts about Sociocracy and Holacracy. The analysis is summarized here.

Background
I first heard about Sociocracy and Holacracy in 2012. Both attracted my interest and I wrote an enthusiastic book review of We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy by John Buck and Sharon Villines in November 2012. I subsequently participated in several Sociocracy workshops with James Priest, got training in facilitating Sociocracy by The Sociocracy Consulting Group, and wrote an ebook on Sociocracy (in Swedish), Sociokrati: En metod för självstyre, together with John Schinnerer.

History
Sociocracy is a governance method based on consent decision-making and cybernetic principles, which was developed by Gerard Endenburg during the 1960s and 1970s. Endenburg published his first book on Sociocracy in 1981.1 The early development of Holacracy was influenced by sociocracy. Brian Robertson filed a patent application on Holacracy in June 2007 (Pub. No. US 2009/0006113 A1), where sociocracy, in my view, is prior art. The patent application was subsequently abandoned. The first Holacracy Constitution was launched in 2009. Robertson’s book on Holacracy was published in 2015.2

Objectives
Gerard Endenburg’s objective with Sociocracy is to enable everyone to develop as far as possible,3 while Brian Robertson wants to harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations.4

Assumptions
Endenburg and Robertson have very different views on organizations and their purposes. Endenburg thinks that organizations exists for the people,5 while Robertson views the organizations as separate entities that have their own purposes beyond just serving people.6 Endenburg emphasizes the importance of each person’s equivalence in the decision-making and the potential for existence and development,7 while Robertson views people as role fillers8 and differentiates between role and soul.9 Robertson’s favorite metaphor to illustrate dynamic steering and constant weaving is riding a bicycle.10 Endenburg uses the same metaphor to illustrate weaving and the circle process.11 Both use nested circles which are linked via two separate roles.12,13 In short, both use the same basic rules, or principles.

Incompatibilities
Endenburg and Robertson use very different languages. Robertson’s book is very readable, while Endenburg’s book is difficult to read. Endenburg admits that he may sound rather cold and formal, but thinks it’s necessary.? Robertson, on the other hand, uses words creatively, and gives them his own slant. He calls, for example, the organizational structure of nested circles a holarchy,14 a term coined by Arthur Koestler. Robertson also claims that Holacracy abolishes hierarchy, while a holarchy, according to Koestler, is a hierarchy.15

Sociocracy and Holacracy are based on specific assumptions applicable to mechanical and electrical systems. Endenburg uses two examples to illustrate the feedback control loop, or circle process, in cybernetics. The first example is, as already mentioned, riding a bicycle.16 The second metaphor is a central heating system.17 Endenburg acknowledges that the operating limits in riding a bicycle are different from those within a heating system, but he still thinks that they indicate constraints within which control may be exercised.18 Endenburg is aware that riding a bicycle is far more complex in reality than his simple example might suggest.19 He also acknowledges that people are not system components,20 but he doesn’t distinguish between machines and organisms in his reasoning.21 Neither does Robertson, who views people as sensors for the organization.22 But people are not machines (or sensors). Machines and organisms ARE different.

Holacracy prioritizes the systemic value of thought by keeping intrinsic human values out of the organizational space. Robert Hartman showed how values can be measured systemically, extrinsically, and intrinsically.23 For example, systemically a worker is a production unit, extrinsically one of several workers, and intrinsically a human being. In Holacracy, systemically an individual is a role and sensor, extrinsically one of several roles and sensors, and intrinsically a human being. The whole point of Holacracy is to allow an organization to better express its purpose.24 Every individual becomes a sensor for that purpose.25 Holacracy is focused on the organization and its purpose—not on people and their needs.26 The focus is only on what’s needed for the organization.27 Holacracy installs a system in which there’s no longer a need to lean on individual’s connections and relationships.28 Holacracy keeps human values out of the organizational space. 29 According to Robert Hartman, there is a tremendous gap between those who think in terms of human values and those who think in terms of non-human systems.30 Elevating systemic values OVER intrinsic human values is dehumanizing. Hartman goes a step further and says that ignoring life’s intrinsic value is the danger that threatens life itself.31

Conclusion
The operating limit on Sociocracy and Holacracy is that people are ”autonomic”.32

Notes:
1 Gerard Endenburg’s first book on Sociocracy was originally published in Dutch in 1981. The first English translation was published in 1988. The Eburon edition was published in 1998. See Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making (Eburon, 1998).
2 Holacracy is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office. Brian Robertson’s book on Holacracy was published in 2015. See Brian J. Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy (Penguin, 2015).
3 Endenburg, Sociocracy, p. 5.
4 Robertson, Holacracy, p. 7.
5 Endenburg, Sociocracy, p. 142.
6 Robertson, Holacracy, p. 148.
7 Endenburg, Sociocracy, p. 167.
8 Robertson, Holacracy, p. 92.
9 Ibid., pp. 42–46.
10 Ibid., p. 129.
11 Endenburg, Sociocracy, pp. 16–19.
12 Ibid., pp. 10–11, 26–27.
13 Robertson, Holacracy, pp. 46–56.
14 Ibid., p. 38.
15 Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine (Last Century Media, 1982, first published 1967), p. 48.
16 Endenburg, Sociocracy, pp. 16—19, 23, 33—37, 223—224.
17 Ibid., pp. 19—23, 30, 36, 40.
18 Ibid., pp. 23, 30.
19 Ibid., p. 16.
20 Ibid., p. 39.
21 Ibid..
22 Robertson, Holacracy, pp. 4, 166, 198.
23 Robert Hartman, Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story, p. 67.
25 Robertson, Holacracy, p. 34.
26 Ibid., p. 166.
27 Ibid., p. 198.
28 Ibid., p. 199.
29 Ibid., p. 200.
24 Ibid., p. 202.
30 Robert Hartman, Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story, p. 124.
31 Ibid..
32 There is a distinction between being ”autonomic”, obeying self-law, and ”allonomic”, obeying some other’s law. See Norm Hirst, Research findings to date, Autognomics Institute, (accessed 4 August 2016)

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Book Review: Sociocracy
Book Review: Holacracy
Book Review: Freedom to Live
Holacracy-vs-sociocracy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Is sociocracy agile?

Organizing in between and beyond

This is the first post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here.

The last chapter in Science, Order, and Creativity by David Bohm and F. David Peat is about ”the order between and beyond”.1 Bohm and Peat write that most attempts to find order, say a new theory, involve searching for a position between two theories.2 Physics faced this situation at the end of the 19th century when it was discovered that Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory didn’t accord with Newton’s classical mechanics. At first physicists tried to make the theories fit together in an order ”between.”3 It wasn’t until Einstein developed his theories of relativity that an order ”beyond” was discovered. Today, there’s a search for an order ”beyond” Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum mechanics.

My point is that there’s a similar need to search for an order ”beyond” our traditional ways of organizing work. Many different approaches have been developed over the years. They all have different names — e.g., Lean, Agile, Holacracy, etc — and are often accompanied with a whole industry offering tools, training, consulting, certification, and other products and services. The problem, as I see it, is that most of these approaches are examples of what I would call organizing ”in between.”

A recent example is the attempt to combine Agile with Sociocracy. This is said to be ”a way to create alignment between Agile ecosystems and the business needs of strong leadership and a clear hierarchy.”4 Well, maybe? I have questioned the assumptions here. Neither Agile, nor Sociocracy, can be said to be totally satisfying. And I don’t think that the solution lies in combining strong hierarchical leadership with sociocratic participatory policy decision-making. This is, in my view, an example of organizing ”in between.” What is necessary is to move to an organizing ”beyond,” which transcends, in this case, the compromise between strong hierarchical leadership and sociocratic decision making on policies.

I don’t know how the organizing ”beyond” looks like. What I do know is that it will contain both leadership and decision making, yet move ”beyond” the limits of both. My search for better ways of working together continues.

Here is the next post in the series. Here are all posts.

Notes:
1 David Bohm and F. David Peat, Science, Order, and Creativity (Routledge, 2010-09-01, first published 1987-10-01), pp. 275–314.
2 Ibid., p. 308.
3 Ibid..
4 Pieter van der Meché, Jens Coldewey, Hendrik Esser, and Anders Ivarsson (contributor), Decision Making Systems Matter (The Agile Alliance, 2016), p. 1 (accessed 2016-07-20).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Is sociocracy agile?

Is sociocracy agile?

Decision Making Systems Matter is an interesting article by Pieter van der Meché, Jens Coldewey, and Hendrik Esser, with Anders Ivarsson as additional contributor. The article is funded by the Agile Alliance and is a Supporting Agile Adoption publication. The authors describe how combining ”Agile with ideas from Sociocracy provides … a way to create alignment between Agile ecosystems and the business needs of strong leadership and a clear hierarchy”.1 The article gives excellent insights into sociocracy and is well worth reading! Pieter van der Meché has over 20 years of experience in sociocracy.2

Pictures from the article (from left to right): Pieter van der Meché, Jens Coldewey, and Hendrik Esser.

The assumptions in the article are 1) that ”a clear hierarchy and strong leadership” are required to achieve ”speed and control (coordination)” and 2) that ”policies … ensure alignment”.3 My question is whether ”strong hierarchical leadership and strong participatory [policy] decision making”4 contributes to agility? It’s possible, of course, that agreements on policies — which are defined as ”general agreements on the what, when, how and who”5 — can increase the speed. But a strong focus on policies can also become rigid. It’s as if sociocracy, for the sake of control, values policies and following a plan — the ”what, when, how, and who” — over responding to change.6

While a sociocratic organization certainly values individuals and interactions, it’s also policy-driven, which easily leads to a focus on process-discipline.7 Sociocratic leadership is furthermore ”conductor-like”.8 The idea is that you as the leader should coordinate (control) your team like ”a conductor of an orchestra”.9 It’s self-evident that you as a strong hierarchical leader value control over participation. What if the team can coordinate itself? (Here is an example of collaborative leadership in a conductorless orchestra.) And what if the challenge isn’t primarily to ensure ”alignment throughout the hierarchy”10 but to nurture collaboration throughout the organization?11

So, is sociocracy agile? I’d say no. It depends, of course, on what you mean by agile. My impression is that sociocracy values policies and control over people and collaboration. While there is value in the latter, sociocracy values the first more.12And, yes, decision making systems matter! But why limit participatory decision making to policy decisions only?13 It’s as if sociocracy doesn’t take the full consequences of participatory decision making.

Notes:
1 Pieter van der Meché, Jens Coldewey, Hendrik Esser, and Anders Ivarsson (contributor), Decision Making Systems Matter (The Agile Alliance, 2016), p. 1 (accessed 2016-07-20).
2 Ibid., p. 14.
3 Ibid., p. 7.
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Agile values ”responding to change over following a plan”. See the Agile Manifesto. There are similarities between sociocratic policies (what, when, how and who) and plans.
7 Agile also values ”Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. See the Agile Manifesto. The focus on policies easily leads to a focus on process-discipline, i.e., define the policies and processes (albeit in a participatory way!) and make sure people follow them.
8 Pieter van der Meché, Jens Coldewey, Hendrik Esser, and Anders Ivarsson (contributor), Decision Making Systems Matter (The Agile Alliance, 2016), p. 8 (accessed 2016-07-20).
9 Ibid..
10 Ibid., p. 10.
11 It’s an Agile principle that business people and development teams must work together daily. See the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto.
12 This is a paraphrase of the Agile Manifesto. The crucial question here is which values are given precedence over others.
13 Elections of people to roles and responsibilities are allocations of resources and thus policy decisions. See The three principles in Sociocracy, Wikipedia (accessed 2016-08-02).

Updates:
2016-07-24: Pictures of authors added. Questions added. Text and notes updated.
2016-07-26: Questions updated. Text updated. Related post added.
2016-08-01: Middle section split into two parts.
2016-08-02: Note added. Minor changes in the text.

Related posts:
Principles for collaborative leadership
Organizing in between and beyond posts

What is healthy power?

The Healthy Power Alliance writes in its Healthy Power Manifesto that:

Healthy Power is the ability to do work over time
in a way that is good for all the people and systems involved:
the ecosystems, the human communities, the customers, the workers, the investors, the leaders,
all of us.
Healthy Power is circular, not linear or flat.
Healthy Power is fluid, not frozen.
Healthy Power is consensual, not coercive.1

The Healthy Power Alliance also writes that there are numerous models of Healthy Power:

The beautiful thing, the profoundly inspiring thing, is that if you want to make the power you live by into Healthy Power, you do not have to invent it yourself. You have years, decades, in some cases centuries of experience to draw on. If you want to bring Healthy Power to your workplace, community, or family, the options are numerous.2

Among the models, or gold standards, mentioned in the manifesto is Holacracy. It’s worth noting that Healthy Power is process power in Holacracy. Holacracy really doesn’t care how people feel as long as the process is honored. And Holacracy keeps human values out of the organizational space. This means, in my view, that the gold standards may not be so golden after all. I think we have to discover, and protect, Healthy Power ourselves. The beautiful thing is that we have millennia of experience to draw on. Healthy Power sees life’s intrinsic value. Unhealthy power doesn’t.

Notes:
1 The Healthy Power Alliance, The Healthy Power Manifesto, the short version, official until July 1st 2016. (Accessed May 15 2016)
2 The Healthy Power Alliance, The Healthy Power Manifesto, the FULL version, official until July 1st 2016. (Accessed May 15 2016)

Sociocracy is both right and wrong

Sociocracy uses consent decision-making. 1 If people are autonomic, 2 then decision-making by consent 3 is right. But if people are autonomic, then limiting consent to policy decisions only is wrong. 4

Sociocracy is based on cybernetic principles. 5 The basic feedback model consists of input-transformation-output steps, 6 and leading-doing-measuring activities for each step. The problem is that cybernetics is a poor metaphor for living systems. 7

If people are autonomic, then there is simply no input mechanism that can change their internal operations. Force may change people’s external acts, but they will rebel as soon as the force is removed. 8 The cognitive model of people as rule-following entities is inadequate.

Notes:
1 See Sociocracy, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 April 2016. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
2 There is a distinction between being autonomic, obeying self-law, and allonomic, obeying some other’s law. See Norm Hirst, Research findings to date, Autognomics Institute. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
3 Sociocracy makes a distinction between consent and consensus. Consent is defined as ”no objections,” and objections are based on one’s ability to work toward the aims of the organization. See Sociocracy: Consent vs. consensus, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 April 2016. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
4 All policy decisions are made by consent although the group may consent to use another decision-making method. See Sociocracy: Consent governs policy decision making (principle 1), Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 April 2016. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
5 Gerard Endenburg integrated his understanding of physics, cybernetics, and systems thinking, and applied these principles to human systems. See Sociocracy: In contemporary practice, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 April 2016. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
6 The ideal feedback model consists of the input of information or resources, the transformation of those resources, and the output. A feedback loop of information is used to correct the process or confirm that it is accomplishing the aim. See Sharon Villines, Producing Organization: The 27 Block Chart, 2 May 2013. (Accessed 26 April 2016)
7 Cybernetics is an advanced form of mechanism, but it is still a mechanism, which makes it a poor metaphor for any living system. See Elisabeth Sathouris, Ecosophy: Nature’s Guide to a Better World, Kosmos Journal, Summary 2014. (Accessed 26 April 2016).
8 Living organisms are self-making, holistic, autonomous and have no information inputs. Perception begins in acts, not inputs. Autonomy implies organisms are closed to information. Information is not a commodity. In organisms, informare (formed within) replaces information. See Norm Hirst, Research findings to date, Autognomics Institute. (Accessed 26 April 2016)

Holacratic tyranny

People are viewed as sensors for the organization in Holacracy (and Sociocracy 3.0):

  • … individuals act as sensors (nerve endings) for the organization 1
  • An organization … is equipped with sensors — … the human beings who energize its roles and sense reality on its behalf. 2
  • One powerful way … is to harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations. When those tensions can be processed quickly and effectively, then the organization can benefit … 3
  • The whole point of Holacracy is to allow an organization to better express its purpose. 4
  • … an ”organization” is an entity that exists beyond the people, with its own purpose to enact and with work to do beyond just serving the people doing that work. 5
  • Organizations running with Holacracy are first and foremost purpose-driven … with all activities ultimately being for the sake of realizing the organization’s broader purpose. Every member then becomes a sensor for that purpose … 6
  • The organization is depending on you, as its sensor, to give voice to the tensions you sense so that it can evolve. 7
  • Holacracy is focused on the organization and its purpose—not on the people and their desires and needs … 8
  • Many of the rules … are there specifically to ensure that the focus is only on what’s needed for the organization to express its purpose, … not on … anything else.” 9
  • … we are installing a system in which we no longer need to lean on our connections and relationships to be able to process organizational tensions. 10
  • … the organizational space is the result of working together role to role and governing those roles for the sake of the organization’s purpose. 11
  • [Holacracy] keeps human values out of the organizational space, which also keeps the organization out of our human-value space. 12

Metaphors both reflect and influence our thinking. I think the sensor 13 metaphor leads the thinking in the wrong direction. The processing of tensions becomes primary when people are viewed as sensors, but people are neither sensors, nor actuators. 14 Alternatives to navigating via tension are navigating via awareness, 15 or navigating via the quietness within. 16 The latter is, for example, what the Quakers do in their unanimous decision-making. 17

My view is that values 18 are primary – especially intrinsic human values. Values can be measured systemically, extrinsically, and intrinsically. 19 For example, systemically a worker is a production unit, extrinsically one of several workers, and intrinsically a human being. 20 In Holacracy, systemically an individual is a role and sensor, extrinsically one of several roles and sensors, and intrinsically a human being. Holacracy prioritizes the systemic value of thought by keeping intrinsic human values out of the organizational space. However, making use of control, not for the good of those who are in the system, but only for the system’s own benefit is problematic. Ultimately it leads to tyranny. 21

Notes:
1 Bernhard Bockelbrink & James Priest, Introduction to Sociocracy 3.0, (v2016-01-29), p. 81. (Accessed 2016-04-09)
2 Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, p. 4.
3 Ibid., p. 7.
4 Ibid., p. 34.
5 Ibid., p. 148.
6 Ibid., p. 166.
7 Ibid., p. 194.
8 Ibid., p. 198.
9 Ibid., p. 199.
10 Ibid., p. 200.
11 Ibid., p. 201.
12 Ibid., p. 202.
13 A sensor is an object whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment, and then provide a corresponding output, Sensor – Wikipedia. (Accessed 2016-04-09).
14 An actuator is the mechanism by which a control system acts upon an environment, Actuator – Wikipedia. (Accessed 2016-04-09)
15 The proposition of Theory U is that the quality of results in any kind of socio-economic system is a function of the awareness that people in the system are operating from. See Theory U, Presencing Institute. (Accessed 2016-04-09).
16 There’s a center, a quietness within, from which action occurs. This quiet place has to be known and held. See Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, (Doubleday, 1987), pp. 161–162.
17 Holding the quite place, or silence, within is how Quakers make unanimous decisions. See Michael Sheeran, Beyond Majority Rule: voteless decisions in the Religious Society of Friends, pp. 49–50.
18 Value is used as defined by Robert Hartman. When life has meaning, it has value. The richer its meaning, the richer its value. See Robert Hartman Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story, p. 60.
19 Ibid., p. 57.
20 Ibid., p. 67.
21 Tyranny, as used here, is making use of control, not for the good of those who are in the system, but for the system’s own benefit only.

Related posts:
Book Review: Holacracy
Book Review: Freedom to Live
Book Review: Beyond Majority Rule

Coming to the right solution for all

When we have to find solutions, we take our time. We begin in a circle of chiefs, with the grandmothers standing behind. The chiefs must answer to the grandmothers and to the community they represent for their decisions. They understand that they have a lot of responsibility, not to their own egos, but to the grandmothers and to the community. And so, if it is not possible to find the right solution at one council, we wait until the next time there is a meeting. There is no shame in not finding the solution quickly. There is shame in not coming to the right solution for all who are affected.
— Six Nations Elder in Canada 1

Notes:
1 Birgitt Williams, The Genuine Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership, (DALAR, July 2014), p. 195.

Wirearchy vs. sociocracy

After having read the book Wirearchy: Sketches for the Future of Work I have started to think about the similarities and differences between wirearchy and sociocracy.

The first thing I notice is that wirearchy is an organizational design principle 1 while sociocracy, or rather the Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method, is a collaborative governance method 2. What I also can see is that sociocracy, as a method, supports some of wirearchy’s pillars, most notably trust 3 and the focus on results 4. One of the core values in sociocracy is transparency 5, which of course helps building trust. And the valuing of action, decisiveness, effectiveness, and focus 6 in sociocracy certainly supports the focus on results. The furthest distribution of all authority 7 in wirearchy is also well supported by the consent decision-making in sociocracy 8. I see some support for wirearchy’s credibility 9 in sociocracy – primarily through the use of the team’s collective intelligence 10 in the consent-decision making – but I don’t see any active questioning of ALL assumptions 11 in sociocracy. Assumptions behind decisions can of course be questioned in the consent decision-making, but it’s difficult to get a deeper understanding of the assumptions underlying the sociocratic principles. I have made an attempt in my article on the phenomenology (or way of seeing) in sociocracy. I have also questioned one of sociocracy’s assumptions in this post. What is clear is that the technical bias 12 is strong in sociocracy.

I wonder how a governance method would look like which fully supports the wirearchy organizing principle? It would be a wirecracy! And it would be descriptive, rather than prescriptive.

Notes:
1 Jon Husband et al., The Wirearchy Commons, Wirearchy: Sketches for the Future of Work, pp. 5, 8–9, 23, 25, 43, 62.
2 What Is Sociocracy and Why Do You Need it? (Accessed March 5, 2016)
3 Jon Husband et al., The Wirearchy Commons, Wirearchy: Sketches for the Future of Work, pp. 5, 17–18, 26.
4 Ibid., pp. 6, 9.
5 Values and Sociocracy (Accessed March 5, 2016).
6 Ibid..
7 Jon Husband et al., The Wirearchy Commons, Wirearchy: Sketches for the Future of Work, p. 6.
8 Principles and Practices of Sociocracy. (Accessed March 5, 2016)
9 Jon Husband et al., The Wirearchy Commons, Wirearchy: Sketches for the Future of Work, p. 5.
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid..
12 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: As social design, (Eburon,1998), p. 5.

Related posts:
Book Review: Wirearchy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
The big misconception in sociocracy
What if the organization is a living system?

Gerard Endenburg on equivalence in sociocracy

Why is equivalence so important in sociocracy?

I went back to Gerard Endenburg’s book Sociocracy: As social design and found the following:

1) ”The axiomatic starting point of the method is mutual equivalence.” (p. 11)

2) ”The issue … is not one of mutual equality but about putting into practice equivalence … of individuals, as a norm rather than as a fact.” (p. 17)

To summarize, in sociocracy

1) equivalence is an axiom, which means equivalence is considered to be so evident and well-established that it is accepted without controversy or question.

2) equivalence is a norm rather than a fact, which means that equivalence is a target value.

Related post:
François Knuchel on equivalence in sociocracy

François Knuchel on equivalence in sociocracy

Why is equivalence so important in sociocracy?

Below is an answer (in italics, my emphasis in bold) from François Knuchel on the Sociocracy email discussion list on Yahoo, February 28, 2016:

Because otherwise some become more equal than others, as George Orwell put it.

Because it allows humanity, society and organisations to tap into the inner collective wisdom, which is always better than relying on the perspective of one or an elite of powerful decision-makers.

Because how else can you achieve distributed leadership?

Because if you don’t have equivalence you have already systemically predetermined the direction of decisions on the basis of those with a “more valid views” (more equal?) – who decides whose views are more valid than others, and why?

Because the socius can then resemble the workings of the networked brain – or can someone tell which of their brain cells is the big boss, the master cell?

Equivalence resembles what S. Toyoda called Respect, i.e.. fully respecting the perspectives of every single worker in an organisation, those doing the work. The whole premise of Total Quality Control, for instrance, is that everyone is involved in quality control, not just the inspectors or managers – “total” is a misnomer in English as it is not meant to refer to total control, but to the total workforce.

Equivalence (not equality) is fundamental to collaborative decision-making, and it goes beyond democracy in that people decide on issues rather electing representatives to decide for them and also overcomes the toxicity of majority voting (which in essence at worse means ignoring 49% of people’s perspectives). It goes beyond consensus which is really a kind of pseudo-equality. By giving everyone equivalent voice (in an organisation, circle etc) you allow the organisation, circle to consider all perspectives, rather than deciding on the basis of a few predetermined ones.

The whole point of sociocracy is to ensure equivalence in decision-making, and the point of the consent-based decision making procedures is to demonstrate this equivalence.

I would say equivalence is not just important to sociocracy, it is central.

…. at least in my understanding of it.

Related post:
Gerard Endenburg on equivalence in sociocracy

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

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

Sociocracy vs. Holacracy vs. Sociocracy 3.0

Sociocracy is a governance method based on consent decision-making and cybernetic principles which was developed during the 1970s. Sociocracy significantly influenced the early development of Holacracy in 2006/2007. And Sociocracy 3.0 was introduced in 2014. Here’s my attempt to compare all three based on my reading of Gerard Endenburg’s first book on Sociocracy, Brian Robertson’s new book on Holacracy, and Bernhard Bockelbrink’s and James Priest’s freely available Introduction to Sociocracy 3.0, (v2015-04-23).

Endenburg, Sociocracy (Eburon, 1998), and Robertson, Holacracy (Penguin, 2015).

Sociocracy

Holacracy

Sociocracy 3.0
(v2015-04-23)

Aims To enable everyone to develop as far and in as diversified a manner as possible.1 To harness the tremendous sensing power of the human consciousness available to our organizations.8 To make the best use of the talent already present and help the organization move forward (grow) in its own pace through continuous improvement.15
People It is fundamentally important to involve the complete individual in the decision-making process.2 Differentiates between role and soul in order to keep the organization from being overly influenced by individual feelings and opinions that are not relevant to work.9 People gather around drivers, co-create policies, and act as sensors (nerve endings) for the organization.16
Equivalence Equivalence in policy decision-making, and in the potential for existence and development.3 Not mentioned.10 Everyone affected by a decision has the power to withdraw consent.17
Organization An organization exists for the people and it is in their interest that the actual problem-solving capability of their organization is as great as possible.4 An organization is an entity that exists beyond the people, with its own purpose to enact and with work to do beyond just serving the people doing that work.11 An organization is defined by its values, driver and strategy.18
Needs To give both the individual and the group space to arrange their lives in accordance with their own wishes and needs.5 To fulfill the organization’s purpose – not people’s desires and needs.12 To identify needs in relation to the organization itself, its members, stakeholders, customers or environment.19
Rules Rules are laid down to allow each individual to perform within limits. Equal say of each participant is guaranteed in determining the operating limits, or “thresholds“.6 Explicit roles with explicit accountabilities creates clarity on the operating limits.13 Policies within defined domains of accountability guide the flow of value.20 Policies are created to satisfy drivers.21 Core principles are values.22 Values are policy.23 Everyone needs to become an expert in policy.24
Empowerment Ensures that each system component, for example an individual, is empowered to issue its own instructions by consent.7 Establishes a core authority structure and a system that empowers everyone.14 Manages expectations via (self-)accountability. Accountability is a core principle.25 Collaboration happens within circles and follows principles and values.26

Update 2016-07-09:
Bernhard Bockelbrink and James Priest have updated their Introduction to Sociocracy 3.0, from (v2015-04-23) to (v2016-01-29), since I wrote this post 2015-11-28. Policies are now called agreements in Sociocracy 3.0.27 Maybe this is an attempt to change the language in Sociocracy 3.0? Here is a post on the difference between the language of rules & polices vs. the language of agreements. Like sociocracy and Holacracy, Sociocracy 3.0 still emphasizes that structure (rules, policies, agreements, or whatever you call it) guides the flow.28 Here is an example of when structure instead follows the flow.

Update 2016-10-06:
James Priest writes in a comment on this post that it’s a ”much more accurate description” to say that structure follows flow in Sociocracy 3.0, since Sociocracy 3.0 ”invites, facilitates and supports” optional and adaptable patterns. Here is James Priest’s comment. Here is my comment, and here is James Priest’s answer.

A constant challenge in comparing Sociocracy 3.0 with sociocracy and Holacracy is the constant change. An example, as already mentioned, is policies in Sociocracy 3.0 (v2015-04-23), which were changed to agreements in Sociocracy 3.0 (v2016-01-29).29 An agreement is designed to guide the flow of value.30

(CC BY-SA 4.0) Bernhard Bockelbring & James Priest, Sociocracy 3.0 Handbook (beta), (2016-09-14), p. 16.

Another example is patterns, which have grown into a framework in Sociocracy 3.0 during the year. A pattern is an agreement,31 and a template for successfully navigating a specific context.32 Sociocracy 3.0 is now said to form a pattern language,33 and has more than 60 patterns.34 The term pattern language was coined by Christopher Alexander. Here is a presentation by Christopher Alexander on patterns in architecture. And here is my analysis of Alexander’s pattern language.

(CC BY-SA 4.0) Bernhard Bockelbring & James Priest, Sociocracy 3.0 – A Framework of Patterns for Collaboration.

Notes:
1 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making, (Eburon, 1998), p. 5.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid., p. 167.
4 Ibid., p. 142.
5 Ibid., p. 10.
6 Ibid., pp. 23, 145.
7 Ibid., p. 22.
8 Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolished Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 7.
9 Ibid., pp. 42—46, 116.
10 Ibid., no quote on equivalence found.
11 Ibid., p. 148.
12 Ibid., p. 198.
13 Ibid., p. 41.
14 Ibid., p. 21.
15 Bernhard Bockelbring and James Priest, Introduction to Sociocracy 3.0, (v2015-04-23), pp. 5—7 (accessed 2015-11-28).
16 Ibid., pp. 56, 78, 82.
17 Ibid., p. 30.
18 Ibid., p. 186.
19 Ibid., p. 43.
20 Ibid., pp. 47, 49, 51.
21 Ibid., p. 48.
22 Ibid., p. 25.
23 Ibid., p. 182.
24 Ibid., p. 133.
25 Ibid., p. 33.
26 Ibid., pp. 57, 184.
27 Bernhard Bockelbring and James Priest, Introduction to Sociocracy 3.0, (v2016-01-29), pp. 46—47 (accessed 2016-07-09).
28 Ibid., pp. 46, 118.
29 Ibid., p. 47.
30 ”An agreement is an agreed upon guideline, pattern, process or protocol designed to guide the flow of value.”  See Bernhard Bockelbring & James Priest, Sociocracy 3.0 Handbook (beta), (2016-09-14), p. 16 (accessed 2016-10-06).
31 Ibid. (accessed 2016-10-06).
32 ”A pattern is a template for successfully navigating a specific context.” Ibid., p. 13 (accessed 2016-10-06).
33 ”The patterns in S3 form a pattern language, i.e. while each pattern can be applied independently, patterns mutually reinforce each other, because they are all based on the same set of principles.” Ibid., p. 3 (accessed 2016-10-06).
34 Bernhard Bockelbring & James Priest, Sociocracy 3.0 – All Patterns in one Big Picture, (2016-06-22) (accessed 2016-10-06).

Related posts:
Holacracy vs. Sociocracy
Book Review: Sociocracy
Book Review: Holacracy
Language of rules & policies vs. agreements
Analysis of Sociocracy and Holacracy

Is Sociocracy an empty method?

The Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method (Sociocracy) is said to be ‘empty’ since the users are free to fill out their own details.1 I think this is true for many methods, including Holacracy and Sociocracy 3.0.2

Sociocracy is based on the following norms:3

  • SCN 500 The Sociocratic Method: Terms and definitions.
  • SCN 1001-0 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application, the production of equivalency in decision making.
  • SCN 1001-1 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 1. Production of dynamic organization.
  • SCN 1001-2 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 2. Leading dynamic organization.
  • SCN 1001-3 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 3. Anchoring of the method in legal terms.
  • SCN 1001-4 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 4. Mutual involvement.
  • SCN 1001-5 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 5. Production of ways of development.
  • SCN 1001-6 The Sociocratic Method: Patterns for application. Part 6. Production of Existence Ability Guarantee (EAG).

So, is Sociocracy empty? No, not really! Why would Sociocracy need to be ‘open’ to change,4 if it’s empty? And why are these norms needed in the first place? What are the assumptions behind these norms? I think this is related to the operating idea in Sociocracy, which is cybernetics.

Notes:
1 Global Sociocratic Center, Sociocratic Norm SCN 1001-0, (5th edition, 2010–2015), p. 2.
2 Sociocracy 3.0 builds on the Sociocratic Norms. See Sociocracy 3.0 Foundations Part 1.
3 Global Sociocratic Center, Sociocratic Norm SCN 1001-0, (5th edition, 2010–2015), p. 5.
4 Ibid., p. 2.

Related posts:
Sociocracy requires a new mindset
Scrum vs. Sociocracy
Sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways
Sociocracy is a method, and still it isn’t
Implementing sociocracy without sociocracy
Sociocracy as practiced by the G/wi
Policies vs. agreements
Scaling sociocracy is all about the context
Unspoken sociocratic principles
Cultural dimensions of sociocracy
A prerequisite for sociocracy is a socios
Holacracy vs. sociocracy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?
The big misconception in sociocracy

The big misconception in sociocracy

Georges Romme analyzes The Big Misconceptions Holding Holacracy Back in the 10 September 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Sharon Villines provides a summary and commentary on Romme’s article in the Misconceptions about Sociocracy at Sociocracy.info on 18 September 2015. Here are my own comments.

I agree with Georges Romme that Holacracy and sociocracy share ”key principles, with the main differences arising from jargon”, and have written about it here. I disagree with Romme that the ”real problem with holacracy isn’t the ideas behind it”. The key idea in both Holacracy and sociocracy is that ”management should be viewed as a mechanism — an ”operating system” in holacracy — for distributing power and leadership throughout the organization”. I find the cognitive model of human beings as autonomous rule-following entities inadequate, and have written about it here and here. This is perhaps the big misconception which has held sociocracy back since the 1970s? This might also be the stumbling block for Holacracy and sociocracy going forward? Time will tell!

Related posts:
Sociocracy requires a new mindset
Scrum vs. Sociocracy
Sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways
Sociocracy is a method, and still it isn’t
Implementing sociocracy without sociocracy
Sociocracy as practiced by the G/wi
Policies vs. agreements
Scaling sociocracy is all about the context
Unspoken sociocratic principles
Cultural dimensions of sociocracy
A prerequisite for sociocracy is a socios
Holacracy vs. sociocracy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?
Is Sociocracy an empty method?

 

Are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?

First a disclaimer. I don’t really know how a Teal organization1 looks like!

What Frederic Laloux does in his book Reinventing Organizations is to use Holacracy to define aspects of Teal.2, 3, 4

Well, is Holacracy Teal then by definition? No, not necessarily!

In Holacracy, the power is in the process,5 roles and accountabilities are defined explicitly,6 and people have a basic responsibility to act as role fillers.7 This is Amber thinking. Amber organizations have highly formal roles and rigorous processes,8 and seeks to create control through strictly defined roles.9 Authority is linked to a role.10 Holacracy really doesn’t care how people feel as long as the process is honored.11, 12 Not caring about people’s feelings is non-Green.13

What about sociocracy then?

Well, I think Holacracy is a full implementation of sociocracy. Both Holacracy and sociocracy use rules and policies as control mechanisms. This is non-Teal and non-Green. Teal avoids the tendency to create rules and policies,14, 15 and Green relies on shared values rather than rules.16, 17 The way of seeing in sociocracy is the engineers, and the operating idea is cybernetics. This is Orange thinking.18, 19

So, are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?

I’d say no, but it depends on what you emphasize and the interpretations you do. Both Holacracy and sociocracy have an individual cognitive model of people as autonomous rule-followers. Is that Teal?

It’s so easy to get lost in the verbiage!

Notes:
1 Teal organizations, according to Frederic Laloux, shift from having external to internal yardsticks in the decision making, mostly do without job titles, value intrinsic over extrinsic motivators, emphasize inner rightness, don’t need everything to be quantified to discern a right course of action, decentralize power, do away with job descriptions, start with the premise that people have a sense of pride and want to do a good job, and view profits as a byproduct of a job well done. See Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), pp. 46, 94, 135, 172, 174, 175, 185, 186, and 201.
2 Frederic Laloux writes that one of ”the core elements of Holacracy, which can be found in all Teal Organizations in this research, is to separate role from soul”. See Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), p. 122.
3 Laloux sees Holacracy’s separation of role from soul as a ”necessary first step” to ”reconnect role and soul, from a different place”. Ibid., pp. 349—350.
4 Laloux writes that Teal replaces ”predict and control” with ”sense and respond” and refers to Brian Robertson’s metaphor of riding a bicycle. Ibid., pp. 214—215. Gerard Endenburg uses the same metaphor to illustrate the circle process in Sociocracy. See Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making, (Eburon, 1998), pp. 16—18, and G. Endenburg, Sociocracy: As Social Design, (Eburon, 1998), pp. 67—71.
5 Brian Robertson emphasizes that ”rules and processes reign supreme” in Holacracy. See Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 21.
6 Ibid., pp. 40—42.
7 In addition to people’s ”basic responsibilities as role fillers”, they also have specific duties in ”offering transparency”, ”processing requests”, and ”accepting certain rules of prioritization”. Ibid., pp. 92—94.
8 Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), p. 37.
9 Ibid., p. 20.
10 Ibid..
11 As long as the process is followed, people’s feelings doesn’t matter. Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 110.
12The process is all that matters” and takes care of ”everything else”. Ibid., p. 111.
13 Green is ”is highly sensitive to people’s feelings”. See Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, (Nelson Parker, 2014), p. 32.
14 Teal organizations are able to avoid the ”tendency in organizations to create rules and policies”.  Ibid., p. 247.
15 Policies are viewed as ”wasteful control mechanisms”. Ibid., p. 299.
16 Ibid., p. 34.
17 Green’s relationship to rules ”is ambiguous and conflicted”. Ibid., p. 32.
18 Orange thinks of organizations ”as machines”. Ibid., p. 29.
19 Orange looks at management through an ”engineering perspective”. Ibid., p. 30.

Related posts:
Sociocracy requires a new mindset
Scrum vs. Sociocracy
Sociocratic principles can be implemented in many ways
Sociocracy is a method, and still it isn’t
Implementing sociocracy without sociocracy
Sociocracy as practiced by the G/wi
Policies vs. agreements
Scaling sociocracy is all about the context
Unspoken sociocratic principles
Cultural dimensions of sociocracy
A prerequisite for sociocracy is a socios
Holacracy vs. sociocracy
The phenomenology of sociocracy
The big misconception in sociocracy
Is Sociocracy an empty method?
Are Holacracy and sociocracy Teal?

Medborgarlön är en sociokratisk tanke


Miljöpartisterna Annika Lillemets, Valter Mutt, Rickard Persson och Carl Schlyter skriver i Svd Debatt 2015-10-01 att Miljöpartiet vill tillsätta en statlig utredning kring medborgarlön, dvs. att alla medborgare har en garanterad basinkomst. Det är en intressant tanke, inte minst utifrån ett sociokratiskt perspektiv. Medborgarlön lyfts fram som ett viktigt sätt att garantera allas likvärdighet i sociokrati.1

Fotnot:
1 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making, (Eburon, 1998), ss. 42–49.

Relaterade inlägg:
Några tankar om sociokrati

The phenomenology of sociocracy

Phenomenology is a philosophy, an academic discipline, and a practiced research methodology. It arose from a group of continental philosophers in the early 1900s with Edmund Husserl and has developed into a qualitative research methodology. Unlike other research methodologies, our sense experience, intuition, and feelings do not need to be disregarded. The key is to notice without attachment, and discern the difference between thoughts, feelings, and direct experience.

Sociocracy is a governance method based on consent decision-making and cybernetic principles. Sociocracy was developed during the 1970s by Gerard Endenburg. Endenburg is a Dutch entrepreneur and electrical engineer. His first book on sociocracy was published in Dutch in 1981 and in English in 1988. The book contains two examples to illustrate the feedback control loop, or circle process, in cybernetics. The first example is riding a bicycle,1 and the second is a central heating system.2

The basic rules, or principles, in sociocracy are discussed in detail in relation to these two examples. The major conclusion drawn is that there is one operating limit which can never come under discussion, and that is the equivalence in the decision-making.3 An important distinction is that this equivalence in the decision-making only applies to deciding the operating limits, or thresholds, of the system components. This is why the first principle in sociocracy only governs policy decision-making.

Gerard Endenburg acknowledges that the operating limits in riding a bicycle are not the same kind of limits as those within which a thermostat in a heating system is allowed to function, but he still thinks that they indicate constraints within which control may be exercised.4 He is aware that riding a bicycle is far more complex in reality than his simple example might suggest.5 Endenburg also acknowledges that people are not system components,6 but he doesn’t distinguish between machines and organisms in his reasoning.7 The way of seeing in sociocracy is the engineer’s. The operating idea is cybernetics.

With a phenomenological approach, Gerard Endenburg would have set aside his engineering preconceptions and assumptions, and explored the phenomenon of riding a bicycle in terms of itself. He would have reflected on his experiences to search for intrinsic patterns and qualities, and, with them, gained a deeper understanding. For example, he might have noticed that some operating limits are authentic, while others are counterfeit.8,9,10,11

Authentic operating limits are, in this case, determined by the bicyclist’s need to keep the balance while riding the bicycle.12 An example of a counterfeit operating limit could be to be forbidden to cross a white line on the road. It would be counterfeit because the bicyclist would still cross the line, if needed, to keep the balance.13 However, sometimes not crossing the line could be authentic, for example, if it would be better to fall than to be killed by a car.14 The point is that people decide themselves what is authentic, or not, depending on the situation.15 And people don’t obey counterfeit operating limits, or rules, unless they are forced to do so.16 This means that equivalence is applicable to all decision-making. The operating limit on sociocracy itself is that people are autonomic.17,18

Notes:
1 Gerard Endenburg, Sociocracy: The organization of decision-making, (Eburon, 1998), pp. 16—19, 23, 33—37, 223—224.
2 Ibid., pp. 19—23, 30, 36, 40.
3 Ibid., p. 23.
4 Ibid. pp. 23, 30.
5 Ibid., p. 16.
6 Ibid., p. 39.
7 Ibid.
8 The idea behind authentic versus counterfeit operating limits is inspired by Henri Bortoft who distinguished between authentic versus counterfeit wholes. See for example Emma Kidd, First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively, (Floris Books, 2015), pp. 90—95.
9 See also Simon Robinson & Maria Moraes Robinson, Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter, (Floris Books, 2014), pp. 51f & 150.
10 The notion of authentic and counterfeit is also connected to the phenomenological idea of belonging together. Note especially that there is a feedback loop in that the way in which the belonging together is developed helps to inform the system, and when the system is created it can also help to better see the belonging together. Ibid., pp. 150—153.
11 The belonging together emerges from the phenomenon itself. See Emma Kidd, First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively, (Floris Books, 2015), pp. 70, 132.
12 Authentic operating limits naturally belong together with the situation, in this case with the bicyclist’s balancing act.
13 Counterfeit operating limits are artificially forced to belong together with the situation.
14 Note that there is a feedback loop between the operating limit(s) and the situation.
15 It’s important to understand the situation and let it control the actions. See Frederick S. Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, (Bantam Books, 1969), p. 20.
16 External control, even internalized, interferes with the healthy working of the organism. Ibid.
17 Organisms are autonomic, while machines are allonomic. Organisms come into being as a whole entity and grow into maturity as a whole entity unlike machines that are assembled piece by piece by some other. See Norm Hirst, Towards a science of life as creative organisms, Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 4, No 1-2 (2008).
18 According to Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, we can never direct a living system; we can only disturb it. Furthermore, a living system has the autonomy to decide what to notice and what will disturb it. See Fritjof Capra & Pier Luigi Luisi, The Systems View of Life: A Unified Vision, 4th printing, (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 256.

Related book reviews:
Book Review: Sociocracy by Gerard Endenburg
Book Review: First Steps to Seeing by Emma Kidd
Book Review: Holonomics by Simon Robinson & Maria Moraes Robinson

Related posts:
The big misconception in sociocracy
Fritz Perls on control
What if control is inappropriate?
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?

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.
2

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

Notes:
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