Traditional vs. Sociocratic vs. Holacratic Command & Control

Adam Pisoni writes in Here’s Why You Should Care About Holacracy: The “leaderless” workplace structure is sweeping companies like Zappos and Medium that “Holacracy is simply the first fully formed alternative to C&C that real companies are using successfully.” I think this is misleading. Sociocracy predates Holacracy® with 30 years. And neither Holacracy nor Sociocracy replace Command & Control (C&C). Both use C&C within limits. Furthermore, neither Holacracy nor Sociocracy are “leaderless”. This is how it looks like:

  • Traditional C&C: The Manager manages day-to-day work autocratically.
  • Sociocratic C&C: The Operations Leader manages day-to-day operations (most often) autocratically within policies established by consent. The Operations Leader is elected by consent. The circle decides and measures results.
  • Holacratic C&C: Similar to Sociocratic C&C, with the addition that the Lead Link assigns Roles. Roles have exclusive day-to-day control of Domains. The Lead Link is not an elected role.

C&C is the exercise of authority, and control is a managerial function (Wikipedia). With the latter definition, all Roles in Holacracy are managerial roles.

Related posts:
The big misconception in sociocracy
What if control is inappropriate?
Holacracy vs. Sociocracy
Book Review: Holacracy by Brian Robertson
Book Review: Sociocracy by Gerard Endenburg

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading, book reviews, and learning.

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