Hierarchies of authority - typically pyramid-shaped structures of delegated formal authority - have become the default template for organizations of any scale today, in any sector. Why have they become so prevalent? The simplest and probably most uncontroversial answer is that they are the best-known organization design we have to manage complex interdependence among a large number of individuals. It is hard to find examples of large collaboration systems featuring significant interdependence that do not rely on hierarchy. Examining the few instances we know of is helpful in this regard to point out how “special” these special cases are. Why think of alternatives? Culturally, it may have become possible for more people than ever to declare their dislike for hierarchies. This may not be universal, but there is no reason why as organization designers we should not place the satisfaction of fundamental human preferences onto our list of design criteria. Technologically, the fourth industrial revolution, with its advances in intelligent algorithms may be challenging one of the core functions of authority hierarchies through the possibility of algorithmic management.
In this webinar, Phanish Puranam(author of The Microstructure of Organizations, Oxford University Press, 2018) overviews some of his past and ongoing research on organizational hierarchies, and summarizes what we know and what remains to be learned.
The webinar is scheduled for April 8, 2020 at 11:00pm SGT/ 5:00pm CET/ 4:00pm GMT/ 11:00am Eastern / 8:00am Pacific