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Holacracy & Sociocracy: Contrasting Paradigms

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There is a newer video with Brian Robertson and Bernard Marie Chiquet discussing the differences and similarities between Holacracy and Sociocracy. Find it here

Sociocracy is a method for human decision-making and organization pioneered in the Netherlands in the mid-20th century.  Aspects of the approach were incorporated into Holacracy early in its development, most notably the concept of double-linking and the election process.  Other aspects of Holacracy look similar to Sociocracy on the surface, however come from different underlying paradigms, and thus end up quite different in the details and practice.  As a result, those familiar with Sociocracy are often curious or confused when they first encounter Holacracy.

To help clarify the key differences in the methods, HolacracyOne’s Brian Robertson met in October 2010 with Bernard Marie Chiquet, an accomplished Sociocracy trainer, Licensed Holacracy Provider, and founder of IGI Partners.  Bernard Marie explains the value he sees in Sociocracy and the contexts where it’s most appropriate, as well the limits he found with it in an organizational setting and how he’s using Holacracy to help transcend those limits.  The dialog that results flows between the underlying philosophical differences informing the methods, and the practical differences in structures, processes, and decision-making thresholds between the two approaches.

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Related Audio:  Further explore Holacracy and its relationship to Sociocracy through a December 2011 dialogue between Brian and Bernard Marie as they explore the formative influences of Sociocracy upon Holacracy, as well as some key distinctions between the intentions and practices of these two systems.

Forum Discussion (membership required):  Bernard Marie's chart contrasting the two systems is included in this thread, as well as a lively discussion of this topic among various Community of Practice members.