Asheville Movement Collective adopted Dynamic Self Governance (now known as Dynamic Governance), or Sociocracy, in 2009 to support the work of the organization and provide some principles for decision-making. These organizing principles provided a foundation for AMC to become a partnership, and eventually a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Just as AMC is ever-changing, our governance is continually evolving as we learn how best to serve our dancing community. (Read more about AMC’s organizational history here.)
In short, AMC’s style of Dynamic Governance attempts to reduce hierarchy within our organization by ensuring that participants have a voice in decisions that affect them, or are represented by someone who will advocate for their interests.
A schedule of upcoming meetings can be viewed here, and a more detailed overview of how AMC uses Dynamic Governance is described below.
Dynamic Governance is defined as a method of governance that delegates policy making to all levels of an organization and establishes equivalence between its members within their domain of responsibility.
The Community Purpose of Dynamic Governance
The principles and methods of Dynamic Governance develop:
- Strong leadership and clear delegation;
- Self-governance, self-organization, and cooperation;
- The ability to apply scientific theory and methods;
- Responsibility for continuing professional, personal, and community development.
Four Principles of Dynamic Governance
1: The Principle of Consent
Decision-making at AMC is usually accomplished using the principle of consent, or no objection. Objections to a proposed decision must be principled and argued, meaning that the objection clearly describes how a decision would violate AMC’s shared values or affect the work of fulfilling a circle’s aim (see The Principle of Circles, below), and that the reasons for the objection must be explained clearly enough for it to be resolved. If all eligible circle members in attendance agree that the objection is principled, they may elevate the objection to a paramount objection, which blocks the proposal until it can be reviewed by the next higher circle.
In meetings, consent is used to ensure that all circle members are equivalent in decision-making. By participating in AMC meetings, community members agree to accept and commit to the principle of consent.
Not all decisions are made using consent. A circle’s day-to-day decisions are guided by a circle’s policy decisions, but directed by the functional leader (see The Principle of Double-Links, below).
2: The Principle of Circles
AMC governs itself through a circular hierarchy of semi-autonomous, self-organizing circles. Each working circle has a defined aim that outlines its domain and is empowered to create and implement policies within the purview of its own domain. Circles reflect the operational structure of the organization, and each circle must consent to the decisions of any higher circle that affect its domain by means of representative participation in the next higher circle. So, circles are linked in a hierarchy where decisions are made using a feedback loop with each circle participating in the loop.
Each working circle is composed of: 1) a functional leader; 2) participants within the domain who have significant operational responsibilities; 3) general participants of the working circle; and 4) if it has adjunct circles below it, the functional leader and at least one representative of those circles. (See The Principle of Consent Elections, below.)
Participation in each circle is considered open or closed. Community members who participate in regular AMC events may participate in open circles. Community members serving on closed circles do so by consent or election of the circle, or as representatives of another circle (as described above).
3: The Principle of Double-Links
Each circle is double-linked to the next higher circle by the functional leader and one or more representatives of the lower circle. This helps ensure that each circle’s interests and voices are represented in decision-making.
Since the functional leader is elected by the next higher circle, that person can represent their circle’s policies and interests in decision-making at the next lower circle. Since representatives are elected by their respective circles, they can represent their circle’s interests in decision-making in the next higher circle. Representation is especially important when a decision is being considered that would directly affect the members of their circle. (See The Principle of Consent Elections, below.)
A circle’s representatives and functional leaders can be found under each circle listed in AMC’s Working Circles.
4: The Principle of Consent Elections
In general, circle members elect participants to functions and tasks using consent. Officer terms may sometimes be extended by consent of the circle without a traditional election. Each circle has the following officers, which are elected by consent.
Functional Leader: The functional leader is elected by the next higher circle to manage the daily operations within the lower circle’s domain according to that circle’s policy decision and is a member of both the higher and lower circles. This member cannot serve as the representative of the lower circle.
Circle Facilitator: A facilitator is elected by each circle to conduct circle meetings, provide leadership in decision-making, and ensure that the circle is functioning according to the principles and methods of Dynamic Governance.
Circle Administrator: Each circle elects an administrator to manage the affairs of the circle and perform tasks related to its functioning: arranging and announcing circle meetings, preparing the agenda in consultation with other circle members, distributing study materials and proposals, taking and distributing minutes, and performing any other tasks assigned by the circle. The administrator often maintains a circle’s logbook, which contains the agendas and minutes of the circle’s meetings.
Circle Representative(s): One or more representatives are elected by the circle to participate in the next higher circle. Circle representatives participate as a full members in both the lower and higher circles and represent their circle’s interests in decision-making. A circle’s representative cannot be the same person as that circle’s functional leader.
A circle’s officers, elected positions, and member list can be found under each circle listed in AMC’s Working Circles.