History of Sociocracy 3.0

What’s in a word

socio – from Latin socius – companion, friend

-cracy from Ancient Greek κράτος (krátos, “power, rule”)

(different to the rule of the demos, i.e. the general mass of people with voting privileges)

A Brief History of Sociocracy From 1851 to Today

  • 1851 – Auguste Comte
    • scientific method applied to society
    • sociocracy is “the social order of the future” – not yet achievable but inevitable
  • 1881 – Lester Frank Ward
    • redefined the term Sociocracy to describe the rule of the people with relationships with each other
  • 1926 -1954 – Kees Boeke
    • established the first sociocracy in his residential school (based on Quaker consensus principles)
    • book “Sociocracy: Democracy as it might be” (1945)
  • 1970’s – Gerard Endenburg
    • student in Kees Boeke’s school
    • integrated principles from Engineering and Cybernetics
    • in his company Endenburg Electrotechniek he evolved “The Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method” (later becoming “The Sociocratic Method“)
    • 1978 – Sociocratisch Centrum Utrecht: created to promote “The Sociocratic Method
    • 1994 – new law in the Netherlands: Sociocratic organizations are no longer required to have a worker’s council
    • 2000 – emergence of a now wide-spread grassroots movement
    • 2007 – We the People: John Buck / Sharon Villines make Sociocracy accessible to the English-speaking world
    • 2015 – the Sociocracy 3.0 framework is launched

Ongoing development and distribution of Sociocracy 3.0

Sociocracy 3.0 was first conceived by Bernhard Bockelbrink and James Priest in 2014 and launched as an open source framework in March 2015. Liliana David joined the team soon after and together they regularly collaborate to develop both the framework and the website.

They seek to make S3 available and applicable to as many organizations as possible and provide resources under a Creative Commons Free Culture License for people who want to learn, apply and tell others about Sociocracy 3.0.

The Sociocracy 3.0 Movement

As interest in Sociocracy 3.0 grows there is a fast growing community of people from a variety of backgrounds – pioneering consultants, coaches, learning facilitators, and people applying S3 into their various contexts – who share appreciation for the transformational potential of Sociocracy 3.0 to help organizations and their members thrive. Many kindly dedicate some of their time to experimenting with and sharing about S3, and who collaborate to learn from one another and document experiences to inform the ongoing development and evolution of the framework and it’s various applications.

Read next Why ‘Sociocracy 3.0’? (or back to What is Sociocracy 3.0)


©2017 by Bernhard Bockelbrink and James Priest. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0