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What Is Sociocracy? How Does it Help Consent Decision-Making?

In the modern age, organizations take executive actions various to reach their corporate goals. Some agree to make meetings including every team member, while others listen to only top executives regarding critical topics. There are many different governance methods for different types of corporations: autocracy, democracy, whole-group consensus, no-governance system, and sociocracy. Apart from all these methods, sociocracy stands alone due to its consent-based structure. We will open the description wide enough for you to understand better. However, let’s dive into the main principles of sociocracy beforehand. Reading further, you will have clear ideas about sociocracy definition, principles, and differences between consensus and consent decision-making.

Main Principles of Sociocracy

Sociocracy, also known as consent-based decision-making, has seven main principles. Organizations that have sociocracy take form under these principles. These are transparency, consent, effectiveness, experientialism, equity, credibility, and improvement. We will explain each below with short and to-the-point statements. Keep reading for sociocracy principles!

  • Transparency: If there isn’t a need for absolute confidentiality, the information should be shared with the whole team. When a meeting is to be made, and important decisions are to be taken, record all the information and give it to the team with all transparency.
  • Consent: Consent is a must for sociocracy. Instead of a voting system, all the participants must show consent, and objections to decisions must be resolved.
  • Effectiveness: Behaving effectively is good for your development and corporate progress. For this reason, focus only on what is needed to aim the target. Effectiveness will follow soon after.
  • Experientialism: Before you decide to proceed with one final decision, you make assumptions. “If we start to run this campaign, these problems can occur.”, or “If we do not go to this seller, we will lose the market.” This assumption should be tested before realized.
  • Equity: Treat equally every team member when it comes to decision-making that affects them.
  • Credibility: Credibility is key in every field of life. Hold your promise when you make one, do what you’ve agreed to, or answer your colleague on time. This way, you will be someone to rely on in the team.
  • Improvement: When assumptions are tested, you must adapt easily to the result. When the adoption happens, improvement follows right behind.

What Are the Pros & Cons?

Sociocracy that involves informed decision making and consent has both advantages and disadvantages. Though the upper hands are more than setbacks, let’s see both sides of the medallion.

Advantages of Sociocracy

  • As the objections must be resolved before any discussion starts, the conflict is prevented earlier.
  • Team members feel valued as they can state their opinions and their objections loud and clear.
  • Everyone is involved in the decision-making process. This increases participation and retention.
  • In sociocracy groups, circle meeting structure is generally applied. Thus, every team member participates in small groups and voices their thoughts. That is helpful for recognition and the feeling of attachment.
  • Everybody in the team is equal. Each one has the same amount of right to stand and voice their objections and thoughts.
  • Thanks to the way sociocracy encourages participation, people of the team are eager to follow the rules more than ever.
  • Sociocracy circles make the team pro-active.
  • Problems are solved sooner as the objections are held earlier in the sociocracy group meetings.
  • Sociocracy encourages objectiveness.

Disadvantages of Sociocracy

  • Sociocracy decision-making can be harmful when there is a long-term plan ahead.
  • Because there are small round groups in sociocratic meetings, the decision-making process is shorter, leading the team to make insufficient solutions.
  • In sociocracy circles, team harmony is unnecessary as long as objections are resolved. That’s why team cohesion is mostly ignored in this kind of group.

Consensus vs Consent Decision-Making

At the heart of the sociocratic organizations stands the line between consensus and consent. They, though mostly confused, mean different. Consent is the state of having no objection to a thought, whereas consensus means that everybody agrees. For example, there will be a picnic organization in your kid’s school, and parents are asked to bring at least one kind of food to school. In the WhatsApp parents group, you start the small talk regarding the issue. As your child is allergic to nuts, you are not OK with any food containing nuts. (No Consensus) However, you agree that others who are not allergic can enjoy nuts. (No objections-Consent) That can be a good example to consensus vs consent decision-making.

Consent decision-making process mainly include four steps. First, the proposal is submitted loud and clear to every team member. Misunderstandings are resolved, and the proposal is comprehended thoroughly by everyone. Then comes the second step. Here, all participants’ questions are listened to and answered one by one. At this step, it is important that only the questions are allowed. Discussions will be held later on. Once answers are given to related questions, it is time to hear about objections. The moderator asks if there are any objections. If not, consent is on the stage. Every team member seems to consent to the proposal and is on the same page.