Hierarchies – what are they good for?

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Anne Truitt Zelenka’s recent post titled Hierarchies Plus: What Enterprise 2.0 Can Do for the Typical Big Business struck a resonant chord in me:

…big businesses have always needed their hierarchies subverted or at the very least complemented with additional relationships to get certain kinds of work done. Hierarchies make control feasible, and consequently allow for efficient and effective work in situations that are similar to situations that the enterprise has confronted in the past. But in times of uncertainty and change, big businesses need their employees to use ad hoc relationships across formal organizational lines and even outside of the organization’s boundaries.

she goes on to suggest that applications that support the formation and deepening of ad hoc relationships across the boundaries of organizations and allow problem-solving using those informal relationships could help organizations succeed. Sounds right to me.

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