Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site
Originally Posted by Davi Gabriel da Silva:

Very strange question, I know. But I would like to understand the reason the prefix is hola instead of holo. It seems the word is derived from holarchy, not from holon. Am I right? 


I'm asking this question because I want to translate the word to Portuguese correctly. I saw that some people call it "holocracia" and others "holacracia". In Portuguese, holarchy is translated as holarquia, so I'm keeping the prefix as it is in English (hola).


By the way, should the framework name be translated? 


Hi Davi,

Some may have already seen this as It has been a topic of discussion in both LinkIn and Facebook Communities. But maybe this will shed some lighton your question. 

  • One needs to understand the origin of the word and the reasoning and background. Firstly Holacracy isn't just an operating system, just like Democracy, Sociocracy, Autocracy, Bureaucracy, Plutocracy, Mobocracy are not Operating Systems. They are all Governance Systems applicable not just within the Workplace but in all aspects requiring Governance. Hol-a-cracy means: 'Hol-' from Holon meaning an Autonomous self reliant unit, which in turn is derived from (gk) Holo- meaning whole (This is the concept on which the governance model is built and the anchor point of Self-Management); '-a' from (gk) is a connective vowel; '-cracy' from (gk) kratia, meaning rule, strength, power. So you see when broken down the word describes exactly and eloquently what Holacracy is, rule (or governance) through whole autonomous self-reliant units. The issue I have come across more often, is the misunderstanding of what Holacracy truly is. Through reading many articles both promoting and criticising Holacracy as well as many conversations, I have come to realise that we are not very good at conveying the principle, the nature, the essence of what Holacracy is due to our own evolving understanding of it. We are all still discovering and as a result we use terms that are familiar or are the nearest known representation to the ideas, however they are often limited by our own industry, culture, socioeconomic, educational framework etc. This is the reason why H1 has placed Holacracy out in the public domain, as they are aware that they are only a part of it and can contribute only from their perspective, they recognised the need for input from other Holons. As for the difficulty of pronunciation, I would say that most words in any language would cause difficulty for any non-native speaker, I speak Dutch and English fluently and have studied Spanish, Japanese, Greek and Latin but that still doesn't mean pronunciation in any of those languages is easy or always flawless. Difficulty with pronunciation has nothing to do with the concept but everything to do with the mind set of the person raising it as an issue. Human beings don't like change, they don't like things they do not understand and as a result will throw up the excuse 'it is to difficult, it is to complex, it is to doctrinal, to sectarian, etc' what they are saying is I can't wrap my head round the concept and I don't want to look stupid, this is part of normal Human nature and has effected every new concept and word ever brought into existence. My recommendation is that instead of changing the Name which perfectly describes the meaning of the concept, we need to focus on better conveying the Concept to the world in language that is more accurate and better understand the concept ourselves.