Are Hierarchies All Bad? LO31063 multiple subsystems

From: chris macrae (
Date: 04/26/04

Replying to LO31047 --

I would like to list a few axioms (as I see them - tell me if you
disagree) and then a question

AX 1 I can't believe there is a large organisation in a
service/knowledge economy that doesn't have more than the one
relationship system of hierarchy compounding stuff- ie organisations
now need to be designed around subsystems

AX 2 If you don't explicitly recognise multiple systems and work to
architect their interface, you will get the worst of both/all, at
least over time as the tensions between the systems compound

AX 3 Therefore hierarchy is bad (or putting the organisation at
unnecessary risk) when it fails to recognise it is just one of several
subsystems that need to be designed with win-win interfaces


Assuming there are a lot of cases out there (certainly my experience)
where hierarchy isn't addressing the interaction of subsystems issue,
why is this?

-have various professional disciplines failed to make this point to
leadership with the clarity they could?

-does hierarchy not know the costs and risks it compounds when it is
blind to the dynamics of other subsystems

-does hierarchy not care or otherwise brush away the issue as
longer-term than the immediate firefighting?

-other? (what?)

Chris Macrae
London First Intangibles Collaboration City


"chris macrae" <>

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