More on Sociocracy
From: Diana Leafe Christian (
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 09:21:57 -0800 (PST)

Jerry, the book I know best about Sociocracy is _We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy - A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods_ by John Buck and Sharon Villines. It's available on or from

I can also send you my 4-page workshop handout giving an overview of how Sociocracy can work in cohousing and other kinds of intentional communities. The handout has been corrected and OKed John Buck and another experienced Sociocracy trainer, Sheella Mierson. If this interests you let me know and I'll email it to you and any other folks on the Coho-L list: diana [at]

I have a different view than Sharon Villines, re her comment on the video about how Lost Valley recently adopted Sociocracy for their governance & decision-making.

        (BTW, here it is again:
           Just scroll down to the fourth video on this webpage)

Sharon wrote, "To expand on Diana's shorthand: I would describe this as "how they switched from no governance structure to a governance structure based on consensus." Sociocracy is the only governance system that supports and reinforces consensus decision making. it enables consensus, makes it practical in large and diverse groups with complex aims."

Actually, Lost Valley used consensus decision-making continuously since their founding in 1989, with a combination of whole- group plenary meetings and smaller committees. I know the community well, have visited many times, and know this for a fact. They didn't switch to Sociocracy from "no governance structure" as Sharon writes.

I think Sharon's further point is that using Sociocracy allows the people who use it to better employ the _principles_ of consensus -- including transparency and equivalence -- even more then when they use classic consensus decision-making.
I think I'd put it a different way, but basically I agree. And I agree with Sharon's view that Sociocracy works well with groups -- like cohousing communities -- that have large and diverse membership with many different aims (shelter/housing, congenial neighborhood atmosphere, neighbors & friends who offer help and support, amenities of the common house, collaborative self-governance, safe place for kids and elders, saving money by shared ownership of some things, and so on). In my opinion this is far more complex & diverse than the single-issue political or environmental action groups that consensus decision-making seems best suited for.

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