Working in an heterarchichal system means that there are people with greater responsibility for taking high risk decision that require specific functions, specific knowledge etc - like in a surgery - but with no authority to take decisions that directly affect the governance system of the whole. There is a topography with the sense of being multidimensional but there is no central steering wheel.
K. Stephenson examines how heterarchies, that bring together elements of networks and hierarchies, are the most relevant organizational structures for our times.
The term is best defined by it's double opposition: to hierarchy on the one hand (both: top-down and bottom-up approaches can be hierarchical) and to peer-to-peer-networks. Because in the messy realities of human society creating order and structuring decision making through mere peer-to-peer communication/coordination is an illusion.
If hierarchy is the power system of centralized systems, then heterarchical power is the power system of decentralized systems and Responsible Autonomy is the power system of distributed systems. wiki
One can think about heterarchies as reconciling networks and hiearchies, html . It brings together together top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer dynamics.
The problem with heterarchy, and the challenge to making it work, is not the lack of hierarchy, but too many competing hierarchies. And that's the reality we live in. Ogilvy
- recognizes, that we cannot get rid of all kind of hierarchies or levels, for instance: There are different levels of decision making
Communities and societies are bounded systems with relational structures. If A does something, there is to be expected an effect on B or C.
"internectively too rich to submit to a summum bonum."
# See also
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