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Sociocracy in co-operative organisations

Fit with co-operative governance

Co-operative governance is as much about how we work together as what we do. Our shared co-operative Values and Principles are central in sociocratic governance – from the self-help and self-responsibility of organising collectively to actively contributing to solving problems and improving our lives, to the deeply democratic participative style of governance that supports equality (one member one voice), equity (fairness through meeting the needs of all who engage) and solidarity.

Sociocratic principles align perfectly with co-operative principles. Both emphasise the people within an organisation and the values that hold them together, and both seek to create governance systems that value democratic member control, and both prioritise ongoing opportunities for learning and development.

Sociocracy offers many tools and methods that support living our Values and Principles to the full, and it can work very well in partnership with traditional co-operative governance. Many co-operatives are experimenting with aspects of sociocracy without adopting everything or even making it obvious. For example it's becoming increasingly common for Opening Rounds to be used in co-operative meetings and workshops across the movement. Sociocracy provides a useful collection of tools to improve participation in meetings and encourage engagement that are suitable for co-ops of all sizes and structures to experiment with. For example, co-ops may choose to adopt consent decision making in their meetings, or use the sociocratic picture forming process to develop proposals with their members.

Sociocracy templates

As part of this resource, we've created a number of templates.

Download sociocracy templates