What is the Sociocratic Circle-organization Method?
The Sociocratic Circle Organization provides a way of producing and leading organization on the basis of equivalence in decision making through the principle of consent.
The core of the method
The sociocratic ‘vision’ on living together is a society in which people live and share their lives as dissimilar, unique persons on the basis of an underlying equivalence regarding decision making. This equivalence may be realized according to the sociocratic Circle-organization Method, which is based on sociocratic norms and values.
The Sociocratic Circle-organization Method is a way of shaping our lives and our living together. It is an “empty” method, which means that it can be applied to any kind of organization. In the process of designing an organization a number of design principles or “rules” apply.
For actual realization of equivalency, decision making is organized according to the “principle of consent”.
The “principle of consent” means that a decision has been taken only when none of the circle members who are present have any argued and paramount objection against that decision.
The consent principle differs from “consensus” and “veto”. With consensus, the participants in decision making are “for” a decision. In consent decision making a “not against” is required. With a veto, arguments are not necessarily given. In consent decision making, an argument must always be given, as well as an indication as to whether the objection is paramount or not.
This is why an important rule of the Sociocratic Circle-organization Method says: “Consent governs decision making”!
Rule: Governing consent
Consent governs decision-making: Not every decision requires consent, but there is consent about the agreements in which decision making is organized differently.
So not all decisions need to be taken with consent. Consent allows persons or groups to take decisions independently.
The ground rules
Apart from the rule of Governing Consent a large number of other rules apply which make working with consent a practical option in organizations of any kind. The three most important rules, apart from governing consent are:
Rule: Circle Organization
The organization applies a decision making structure which is built up of circles that are mutually connected through a double link and governed by the consent principle. This decision making structure encompasses all members of the organization.
Rule: Double link
The connection of a circle with the next higher circle consists of a double link. This means that at least two persons, being the leader of the circle and at least one representative from the circle, are members of the next higher circle.
Rule: Sociocratic elections
Election of persons for functions and / or tasks takes place according to the consent principle and after open argumentation.
See also: The Sociocracy Group