by Ted Rau
1.1 Holacracy vs. sociocracy – likeness and differences
With complexity rising in all contexts in all sectors, decentralized self-governance systems have received more attention in recent years. Two big players in the field, and closely related, are Holacracy and sociocracy.
It seems to be almost universally true that if there are two players, we focus on their differences. Being a big fan of convergence and synergy, this has troubled me and others for a while – after all, Holacracy and sociocracy are very, very similar, especially compared to mainstream top-down hierarchies. This article is an attempt to map out the sameness of, and differences between, Holacracy and sociocracy. I hope to show that the perceived sharp divide of Holacracy on one side – depending on who you ask – as the “better suited for business” or “rigid and cold”, and sociocracy on the other side as “wishy-washy” or “more wholesome” is not accurate and, more importantly, not useful. The differences are small, yet – depending on your values – significant. Knowing the difference gives you choice, and, hopefully, it supports more learning and constructive discussion to further our understanding of circle-and-role-based governance systems.