When I give presentations or workshops on sociocracy, participants ask me for examples who is using sociocracy in real life. They do like the idea, but often the myth of power structures being necessary for success of an organization makes it hard for them to accept that sociocracy can be applied in an organizational context.
To demonstrate that sociocracy is applied in many organizations (both for-profit and non-profit) and intentional communities across the globe I decided to compile a non exhaustive-list of organizations using sociocracy1.
One reason why so many sociocratic organizations are located in the Netherlands may be that sociocratic organizations are not required to have a worker’s council. I don’t remember where I’ve read that, I will add a source when I find one.
A Broader Perspective
Taking one step back, core principles of sociocracy are employed on an even broader scale. Equivalence expressed through making decisions in consensus of a group is at the heart of all co-ops and cooperatives, and many other forms or organization, a special Japanese form called Nemawashi is integral part of the Toyota Production System which has been developed at Toyota between 1948 and 1975 and is still in use there today. So you probably drive a car that is built on consent.
And last but not least, Sharon Villines, co-author of the book “We the people” has a series of interesting articles about [ideas and trends similar to sociocracy] (http://www.sociocracy.info/similar-ideas-and-trends/), highly recommended.
Sociocratic Organizations Around the Globe
The list below does not contain the roughly 35 known organizations using Holacracy, like Zappos or Medium. Holacracy 2 is a slightly more bureaucratic version of sociocracy, trademarked and developed by HolacracyOne. Introducing Holacracy to organizations is rather expensive, mostly due to the way HolacracyOne leverages their trademark on the name to monetize on consulting and training. Personally I find Holacracy overly complex with not enough added benefit, and overly targeted at businesses, e.g. I can’t imagine using Holacracy in families, schools, or intentional communities.
For now, the list is sorted alphabetically, that may change in the future. I tried adding all links and information I have, if you find more references please let me know and I’ll add them.
The [Center For Nonviolent Communication] [cnvc] is a global organization that supports the learning and sharing of Nonviolent Communication (or Compassionate Communication). The center was one of the first adopters in the United States. They publicly share their vision-mission-aims and how they use sociocracy.
The Co-operative for Rural Development is a service cooperative for rural development in Québec that provides internet access and other services for the village Très-Saint-Rédempteur.
Endenburg Electronics: Gerard Endenburg developed sociocracy into its current form in the 1970s in his company Endenburg Electronics where, it is still used today.
Family HEART Camp is a sociocratic governed summer camp for families with children of all ages. Camps are conducted in West Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Ohio, and Hawaii.
GRAAP foundation (Group romande d’accueil et d’action psychiatric), a Swiss foundation with around 1000 active and 4000 sustaining members uses sociocracy in therapy of mental health patients.
Kees Boeke practiced an earlier form of sociocracy his school with about 400 students and staff starting in the 1940s.
Living Well Care Home, and the Ethan Allen Residence both provide residential care for elders in Vermont. Living Well was transitioning to sociocracy before 2005, the Ethan Allen Residence followed 2013. There’s one article at Triple Pundit and another one on Ethan Allen Residence blog (source)
Mondriaan for Mental Health, one of the largest mental health treatment facilities in the Netherlands, with more than 2.300 employees in 44 location uses sociocracy since 2005. According to the source “it was reported in 2013 that Mondriann is no longer using all the principles and practices of the sociocratic circle-organization method but has devised a structure that accomplishes the same goals.” (source)
mywheels (previously called wheels4all) is a sociocratic foundation that provides carsharing in Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam and Utrecht. In 2008 the organization transformed from a cooperative into a foundation with a sociocratic constitution.
Rainbow Community School is a private alternative school in North Carolina, serving children from preschool through eighth grade. An article on Triple Pundit describes their transition to sociocracy in 2010. (source)
The School of Media, Culture, and Design, Woodbury University is using sociocracy since 2007 (source]
Thuiszorg West-Brabant (TWB), a nursing service with 1500 employees in the Netherlands uses Sociocracy for governance.
[Transition Charlottesville] (http://www.transitioncville.org/) (Virginia)
[Vitro Laser Solutions UG] (Germany) specializes in laser engravings and uses sociocracy for governance. (source)
Links were gathered from a web search, including results from