In a hierarchy, it takes just one manager to define a strategy or a goal. After that, he needs to find a way
how to sell his strategy and how to motivate people to implement it. Even if everyone will buy-in and support the new strategy, people understand the same message in different ways, so our manager still needs to monitor and correct implementation direction.
The hierarchical system makes it easy to decide, but to turn the decision into a reality that is in line with the goal, the manager is needed. If the manager leaves the environment for any reason, the end result won’t be what he envisions, or most probably the entire strategy will be abandoned.
Defining a goal or a strategy in a management system without managers will be a longer process than in a hierarchical system. Identifying a strategy will involve more people with a different perspective of reality and different thought processes. When a group agreed upon a new strategy though, they will execute it in a way that the result will depict the original goal. Even if overtime the entire team will change (not at once), they will reach the original goal. Reaching a strategy as a group will bring the same benefits to hierarchical groups.
Like everyone else, I’ve seen and experienced all the time, a new direction dictated by any authority (supervisor, manager, executive) just to be overwritten by a new authority after several months (in the good case). Letting groups manage themselves and organize themselves is a better long-term approach than getting short-term solutions that will be replaced by a new short-term initiative.