Sociocracy, democracy and holacracy are on everyone’s feet at the moment. According to some media and journal papers, the three concepts are intended to represent the future of companies and could represent the next form of evolution of companies according to Laloux. However, it is not clear which will really prevail and whether one will prevail at all. In the following we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of all three models.

The Sociocratic Enterprise and Sociocracy

Sociocracy (Lat. socius: companion and kratein: govern) assumes that all parties involved are equal when it comes to managing decisions in the company. A decision has been taken as soon as there is no longer a serious counter-argument. The method therefore requires self-motivation, cooperative coexistence and self-responsibility. It also aims to “feel good” in the company’s work and therefore strives for self-realization in the company. Management X means that man fundamentally aspires to an aversion to work and a manager must force him to work. Management Y, on the other hand, says that work is a high priority for employees and is an important source of complacency.

Take a look at the book Management Y by Brandes . There, too, I took all the information for this paragraph, and it is currently the most widespread approach, based on man’s quest for self-realization and based on sociocracy. For more information, read my article on Management Y and Sociocracy.

The holocratic company and Holacracy

I have already explained holocracy in another article. For this reason, i.e. i.m. would like to briefly summarize what holocracy could be according to current literature: Holocracy is a decision-making practice that allows you to govern yourself in complexly interconnected functional units (holons or circles) by serving the purpose of the company.

The differences with the sociocracy are not so easy to see. But simply put, Holacracy seems more structured. Through the individual circles, roles are assigned precisely and it separates the individuals (egos) from each other. In sociocracy, all these points are optional. So the big difference is really in the slightly stronger structure of Holacracy compared to the sociocracy. By comparison, Holacracy is a new framework that offers certifications through an umbrella organization. Sociocracy has been around for over 40 years and does not include official certification. Take a look at Robertson’s book or read my article on Holocracy.

The Democratic Enterprise and Democracy

The approach of democracy in companies is the first to raise the question: who leads me, who represents me and how do I participate in the company? Here, too, the “time” factor is being experimented with in the guide. The second topic is self-determination: where do I work, when and with whom? It is therefore a question of more say for employees and fairness of opportunity. According to the author of the book “Democratic Enterprises”, it is about fulfilling the desire of employees to develop their company’s strategy and letting them decide on their own work situation. It therefore puts the group decisions in the foreground. The goal is not to get a majority decision, according to the author, but to change the positions of the group members so that their votes unite to the critical mass of an option. For more information and the sources for this paragraph, take a look at the book Democratic Enterprises of Sattelberger et al. , which deals intensively with democracy in companies. A separate article on democracy in companies can also be found in the blog.

Is this agile and evolutionary?

We quickly realize that all models are still very abstract and have not yet been tested in implementation. All 3 models are different from the basic idea. In the course of the research, I will carry out case studies in all 3 forms and check carefully whether these forms are truly agile and evolutionary, and whether these models have taken companies forward and how they are changing companies. All 3 models have the involvement of the employees as a high goal.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Brandes, U., Gemmer, P., Koschek, H., & Schültken, L. (2014). Management Y. Munich: Campus Verlag.

Robertson, B. (2015). Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World. New York: Macmillan USA.

Sattelberger, T., Puppy, I., & Boes, A. (2015). The democratic enterprise. Munich: Haufe Verlag.


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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