Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Model or Theory to process tension

Dear community,

I am studying business psychology in Stuttgart, Germany and I am currently writing my thesis on Holacracy. In an interview study, I aim to deal more in-depth with the question on how holacratic organizations process tension into change.

Therefore, I have two questions from a rather academic perspective:

1. Do you know of a model (or any sort of classification/ cluster) that categorizes tension within 'conventional' organizations?

2. Do you know of a theory that might be suitable to explain tension in the context of holacratic organizations?

I would also be happy if you can recommend me any (basic) literature on that topic. Thank you very much in advance for your help.

2 Replies
Patrick Scheuerer

Hi Selen, 

Here are two pointers, some of which I also mentioned in our conversation:

The Concept of Creative Tension, as described in Peter Senge's "The Fifth Discipline". This article provides a nice intro and some pointers to further reading materials.

Cognitive dissonance, a concept from psychology, could provide some good starting points. The wikipedia article also refers to some alternative theories.

This is very interesting topic and I'm curious to learn more about what you discover in your research.

Best, Patrick

Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Selen, ,

About explaining tension in the context of holacratic organizations, just have a look on the Holacracy Constitution, 1.2.1:

You are responsible for monitoring how your Role’s Purpose and
Accountabilities are expressed, and comparing that to your vision of their
ideal potential expression, to identify gaps between the current reality and
a potential you sense (each gap is a “Tension”). You are also responsible
for trying to resolve those Tensions by using the authorities and other
mechanisms available to you under this Constitution.

Hope that helps,