Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...
I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.
More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.
Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?
I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions. From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:
“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”
Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?
I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.
One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".
So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".
The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.
The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.
Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.
This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).
Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.
It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.
So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?
My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.
I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...
As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.
One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.
My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?
Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:
"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authority, the separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."
This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."
These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.
This is an interesting moment. Apparently Amazon.com is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.
I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.
It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.
Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.
The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.
So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.
Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?
As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.
I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.
And a fantastic article on Ka$h:
This idea of wealth theology has been around forever it seems (one example) but Zogby adds more fuel to this fire. He went to Temple, whose founder, Russell Conwell, thought that if you were rich or poor you deserved it. Why? If you were faithful to god and worked hard you were rewarded, if not you were punished. Hence praise the rich and damn the poor. Given the Supreme Corp's McCutcheon ruling heaping more power to the rich after Citizens United, and given that they're about to give corps religion, I'd say this malady seems to wash over the entire regressive party. God damn them every one.
Yeah , but it should be obvious that the Calvanist's and any other Christian group that taught money/ prosperity doctrines abandoned the more important ethic and teaching of not being able to serve two masters, Mammon.
We could even theorize that they had their ascendent little heads so far up into heaven that they inadvertently created an embodied hell down here on earth.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON
Even Moyers whom i enjoyed immensely narrating the J. Campbell myth stories seems to be recognizing that things are getting horribly out of control. Somehow i don't think the hoarders are going to take me up on my offer. Truly, it's pretty easy to see things getting much much worse before anything gets better. What i call the reckoning in the Jesus/god matrix.
Yes, if only the greedy could be turned around like in A Christmas Carol (linked above). Unfortunately not likely and it might take the masses knocking down their gates, aka revolution. We've discussed this in the thread above. I'm still trying for reform within the system, as are the progressives in Congress, and hope the masses get politically involved and that it will work. Otherwise things will indeed get to the point of revolution. And historically these are not at all a pretty picture. The American Revolution wasn't that long ago and the very things we fought and died to change are what the oligarchs are recreating. And under the banner of God and Freedom! Sick.
So the regressive (un)rationale in McCutcheon is that it equalizes the every day person with the rich, in that the former can now give as much as they want too. Thing is, they don't have nearly the same money.This is even accounting for the fact that we're comparing the 1% to the 99%.
Let's look at some fact-based reality to frame the discussion. Checking with this accurate source on the last Presidential election, Obama received just over twice as much from large individual donors compared to small donors. For Romney it was over 4 times as much. Also consider that the small individual contributions came from a lot of different people, whereas large donations come from a much smaller pool of the same select rich folks, thereby putting a name and face to that money, along with specific agendas attached to said contributions.
So once again we see that the metaphysics behind such regressive nonsense originates from a purely abstract realm divorced from grounded fact in reality. Hence their incapacity to accept established science like evolution and climate change. Their view is not an equal and complementary view to be considered along with the progressive postmetaphysical view.
Yes, Sabders did a great job. Like a modern day prophet. Ranting, but ranting the truth. Here are some culture-related insights (what I call a "sixth pillar" of the Third Industrial Revolution). I shared them on another thread also.
Regarding our cultural misconceptions of "capitalism" (conflating modern capitalism with the kind that Adam Smith idolized).
page 108 of paperback edition of The Third Industrial Revolution, by Jeremy Rifkin:
With the coming of the railroads, ownership became separated from management. A new genre of professional administrators took to the helm of these ant new enterprises, while ownership was diffused to the far corners of the Earth. The new overseers bore little resemblance to the small family proprietors idolized by classical economic theorists like Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say at the dawn of the market era in the late eighteenth century.
Regarding how modern education's form was (and still is) determined by big business culture:
pages 111-113 of paperback edition of The Third Industrial Revolution, by Jeremy Rifkin:
The rationalization of production and distribution of products required a rationalization of the workforce itself. Fredrick Taylor became the first management expert. His theory of scientific management's designed to recast the persona of the worker to comport with the operational standards that were used to maintain new, centralized, corporate bureaucracies. Taylor used efficiency principles already developed by engineers and applied them to workers with the expectation of turning them into living machines, whose performance could be optimized, much like the continuous production processes churning out standardized products.
Taylor believed that the best way to optimize worker efficiency was to separate thought from action and place total control over how a steaks was to be accomplished in the hands of management. "If the workers' exertion is guide by their own conception," according to Taylor, "it is not possible … to enforce upon them the methodological efficiency or the working pace desired by capital."
Taylor took the core idea of executing rationalized authority tin a centralized, top-down management scheme and imposed it on every worker. He wrote:
"The work of every workman is fully planned out by the management at least one day in advance, and each man receives in most cases complete written instructions, describing in detail the tsp which he is to accomplish, as well as the means to be used in doting the work .. [T]his task specifies not only what is to be done but howe it is to be done and the eat time allowed for doing it. "
The principles of scientific management quickly crossed over from the factory floor and commercial offices into the ohm and community, making efficiency the cardinal temporal value of the new industrial age. Henceforth, maximizing output with the minimum input of time, labor, and capital became the sine qua non for directing virtually every aspect of life in contemporary society.
Nowhere were the new rationalizing principles of the modern business enterprise more welcomed than in the public school system, first in America and Europe and, later, the rest of the world. Turning out productive worriers became the central mission of modern education. Schools took on the dual task of creating a literate workforce and preparing them to serve authoritarian and centralized businesses, where they would take orders from the top and optimize their output at the bottom in the most efficient manner possible, while never questioning the authority under which they labored.
The schools became a microcosm of the factories. One-room school houses gave way to giant, centralized schools that , in appearance, could easily have been mistaken for factories. They were given daily work assignments, along with detailed instructions on how to carry them out. Their tests were standardized and their performance was measured by the speed and efficiency of their responses. They were isolated into autonomous units and informed that sharing information with fellow students was cheating and a punishable offense. They were graded on the basis of objective criteria and promoted to the next grade on the basis of merit. this educational model has remained in force to the present day and is only just now coming into question with the emergence of the Third Industrial Revolution, whose distributed and collaborative nature requires a concomitant educational model.
This is why I focus in my blog on the kind of info in this video. Krugman and Moyers maintain that we must disseminate this information far and wide. For when enough people are aware of it then there just might be enough people willing to do something about it. Willing to apply enough pressure on government to countervail the oligarchy. If we don't fight for democracy we will surely lose it, and we are well on our way already. And that means all of the 99%. We must put aside some time for civic responsibility no matter how busy we are, no matter what other responsibilities we have. The 1% deliberately created this situation where just don't have the time and energy to fight back. That's all the more reason why we have to.
And from the horse's mouth.