How organizations can thrive in the network era

I recently covered the BetaCodex Guide to Organizing for Complexity. A new special edition paper has just been released, Turn Your Company Outside-In. The initial premise is that traditional organizational design, and the ubiquitous org chart, is fundamentally flawed.

The challenge of moving from a hierarchical to a network structure is a complete shift in how we have thought about organizations. The BetaCodex model is based on solid systems and organizational theory from the likes of Stafford Beer, Charles Handy, Henry Mintzberg and Thomas Malone. From these, and others, Betacodex have developed two main design concepts: 12 laws, and the double helix transformation framework.

The most valuable part of this paper are the two case studies, that show how companies can create a new outside-in structure and better address external complexities. One is a German technology firm and the other a Brazilian packaging producer. This paper carries on from the last and includes enough practical information to make real structural change in organizations.

The BetaCodex framework supports the concept of loose hierarchies & strong networks, and provides a concrete structure to address the fact, highlighted in the Cluetrain Manifesto, that hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. I would suggest this as a sub-title for the paper: how organizations can thrive in the network era. A BetaCodex structure could lead us to a world without bosses and would help to ensure that the sociopaths do not take over. It would be a real thrill to work with an organization that is committed to such a change.

4 Responses to “How organizations can thrive in the network era”

  1. Richard Merrick

    These are great links Harold, thank you. One of the manifestations I increasingly find in coaching large organisations is the difficulty they have in reconciling the gap between their formal structure, and the real power links that exist inside and outside the formal structure. Pesky things will not comply!
    In turn, there is an increasing, but reluctant recognition that the relationship between “talent” and hierarchy is a peer one, not assymetric. Additionally, the nned to recogninse the nned to align interests on individual and organisation on a mutual, rather than a directed basis.
    Interesting times.

  2. Robert Paterson

    Working on a start up where this idea is central – love to chat when you have time H


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