Sunnyside Village Cohousing

Sociocracy - How We Make Decisions

In our everyday life there are a number of different types of decision-making systems and ways to make order out of chaos. In a work setting, often there is a boss who is in charge and makes the final decisions, with or without input from the workers, and with or without compassion, patience, or transparency. In a family, often there is a single person who makes decisions, or in a two-parent family the two parents may discuss (or argue) until they agree on a certain course of action. Sunnyside Village Cohousing is not a community with one leader who makes decisions, nor does everyone agree on every decision that needs to be made. Our community uses a system of decision making called Sociocracy. 

The Essence of Sociocracy*

Sociocracy is a rich, comprehensive governance system featuring shared power and self-management.

  • We distribute decision-making authority into teams of people that we call circles.
  • The decision-making method for circles is consent: that means a decision is made when no circle member objects to a decision. One objects when a decision negatively impacts how the circle can achieve its shared aim.
  • Circle members may have defined roles to make sure all functions of their circle are executed.
  • Most circles use rounds – the practice of talking one by one – in their circle meetings. This ensures that everyone has a chance to share their views and be heard.

This video is about 20 minutes. To see sociocracy in action
ask us about attending one of our meetings.


Since we can never know for certain what will be the “best” decision at any moment in time (nor can we always take the time to even try) every decision is made on a good enough for now and safe enough to try consent basis.

Associated with these slogans are the notions of our range of tolerance as the basis for our consent, taking precedence over our personal preference. This is where we weight our commitment to the organization and our commitment to work with a decision that is aligned with the aim of the organization.

To Know More About Sociocracy

Our community will offer periodic trainings and workshops, and will coach the group in how to implement sociocracy. You can learn sociocracy by taking a class or workshop, and if you wish to take a leadership role in the community you will want to do this. Or you may simply learn as you go – others will be providing help and guidance in the process. To learn more we recommend the following resources.

Who Decides Who Decides?
by Ted J. Rau

Many Voices One Song. Shared Power With Sociocracy
by Ted J. Rau and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez

These books and other valuable resources can be found at
Sociocracy For All is a project of Institute for Peaceable Communities (IPC), an incorporated 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Massachusetts, USA.

*This content is extracted from Who Decides Who Decides? by Ted Rau,
pages 19-23.