Re: Dynamic Governance-Sociocracy workshop June 15-16 in Boston MA
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:28:27 -0700 (PDT)
On 5 May 2012, at 11:43 AM, Don Benson wrote:

> I am not an expert either.  And this discussion of consensus still seems to 
> be focused on or limited to facilitated, time-bound, decision-making events 
> rather than building a culture of relationships in a community.  Is this 
> intentional? 

I think the questions about consensus that have been posted here have focused 
on the technicalities and problems of using consensus for decisions in 
meetings. Questions like the one you are raising will more likely be presented 
as building community questions. it is typical of cohousing communities, as 
opposed to other kinds of intentional communities, to avoid ideologies or 
anything that might appear to be an ideology. 

Since consensus (or sense of the meeting) and peace as daily practices are most 
often associated with the teachings of the Quaker church, this becomes touchy. 
Cohousing groups also vary widely on the degree of community that is expected 
of members and members vary widely on how they participate in the community. 
Diversity is welcomed even in this respect, though perhaps not by all.

The official sociocratic organization and the teachings for certification focus 
specifically on how to implement the method in order to design and govern 
organizations. Even equivalence is presented simply as the best way to create a 
harmonious organization. Their desire is to have sociocracy taught in as many 
kinds of organizations as possible and to develop a sociocratic society. In The 
Netherlands there is a Sociocratic political party. This aim requires not 
adopting any cultural messages that might be interpreted as religious. And many 
people view consent decision-making that way, which is one reason they like to 
avoid the word "consensus". It's connotations are too inclusive.

While sociocratic methods can be used simply as management tools, the 
underlying values of equivalence and harmony, I believe their practice 
ultimately produces a worldview that is more inclusive and mindful. A leading 
consultant in Montreal has extensive experience in Gestalt Psychology and he 
teaches the principles with a decided focus on personality development and the 
way the principles address people's need for attachment, security, and 
influence (being listened to). He teaches leadership and leadership training 
has long focused more on psychology and sociology than on organizational 

Probably more than you were looking for, but FWIW there it is.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
"Behavior is determined by the prevailing form of decision making." Gerard 

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