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

What is unconstitutional versus what is allowed Governance?

As a Circle Member proposing changes in governance, I'd like to know for sure which parts of the Holacracy constitution can be changed through governance and which parts can't, so that I don't inadvertently make changes that violate the most fundamental elements of Holacracy and the Holacracy Constitution.

4 Replies

That's a very large question, not sure we can answer... Best would be to have some supervision from a Coach to make sure you're align with the constitution...


So how does the coach know?
I have thought about this question in the past and I am curious as to what is the answer.Can I ask what part of the constitution you were proposing to change?The constitution is Github and you can propose changes to it.  (https://github.com/holacracyon...lacracy-Constitution)

Andrea Faré

My understanding is that the  Constitution cannot be changed via governance.  There are default approaches to particular situations that the Constitution prescribes  that can be overridden by policies (usually you'll find sentences such as:" unless a policy says otherwise" OR "A Circle may adopt a Policy to add to or change this required process."  where that is possible in the Constitution), in other areas the Constitution gives a lot of flexibility (i.e.: modifications to the structure of the Tactical Meeting as spelled in the last sentence of article 4.2.3 ) making use of which wouldn't mean "changing the Constitution" In order to change the Constitution document in the context of an adoption you'd have to follow what article 5.5 says, in order to suggest pre adoption changes to the universally known current version of the Constitution you'd have to propose changes via GitHub. (but I am pretty sure that you didn't mean you statement to be interpreted in its literal sense: "changing the document") . If your question is to be rephrased as:" what are the exact boundaries inside which our  governance can move without violating the Constitution?" i'd say anything that is not explicitly prescribed (usually where the verb "must" is used in the Constitution) or explicitly forbidden, can be interpreted by situation. I do not think it will ever be possible to transform the Constitution into something that is so formal that any nuance can be captured without interpretation (Kurt Godel would arise from the grave;-)

Sorry, I realize that my answer is a bit "recursive" but I am not sure I could provide a different one without basically spelling out the entire Constitution, which would make the answer even more recursive ;-)

IF you have a specific example in mind maybe it's easier to provide more relevant information. 




Olivier Compagne

Ditto to what Andrea said!  In addition, clarifying which parts of the constitution allow for changes via policy and which don't, is part of the changes planned for the next version of the constitution (v5.0).