Holacracy Sociocracy Thoughts

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

By Jan Höglund

I share my reading, book reviews, and learning in my blog.

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