Transformational Governance: Empowering Organisations through Deliberative Democracy

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Educators say they want to have greater input into the decisions that impact on their work rather than those decisions being made for them. They say they want to have meaningful dialogue about that work with their peers but they say there is no time. Experts say that schools are the place where students learn about democracy and in all but a few instances that description is limited to 'thin' or representative democracy. What kind of citizens are schools turning out when teachers work in largely autocratic environments with little opportunity to practice the democracy in action?

This presentation demonstrates what happens when teachers are given the opportunity to engage in deliberative democracy in the workplace through a Sociocratic governance model based on deliberative decision making.

Sociocratic governance engages organisations in experiencing 'strong' democracy that encourages equity of voice, informed decision making and shared leadership overlayed on a traditional, autocratic management style. Sociocracy contributes to what we would think of as 'fair play' in dialogue. Participants have the right to assert, defend or question any factual or normative claim.

Sociocracy is modelled on cybernetics and systems theory that acknowledge the convergence of social and ecological systems that are sustainable over time. It reflects a belief in complexity science that recognises adaptation under pressure. It is transformative and directs its energy towards realising an organisation's highest potential.


Keywords: Democracy, Dialogue, Deliberative, Transformative, Systems Theory, Complexity Science, Fractal, Dialectic
Stream: Organisational Learning, Organisational Change
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Pauline Joyce

PhD student, Transformative Education Research Group
School of Science & Engineering, Curtin University of Technology

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Paula is currently undertaking a PhD in transformative governance at Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. After a long career in teaching, Paula became involved in Community Engagement quite by chance and alongside her studies she facilitates Community Engagement for large corporate organisations such as Rio Tinto Iron Ore. Her experiences as a facilitator led her to an interest in the resurgence of 'strong' democracy in the community and the way in which organisations are creating opportunities for citizens to have a greater say in decisions that affect them. Paula is interested in providing opportunities for teachers to engage in deep democracy in a workplace that is often characterised by autocratic governance. Paula's work is revealing what happens when teachers are given the opportunity to deliberate about the work they do within a shared leadership model of governance.

Ref: L09P0072