Everytime that I’m presenting our management system that is based on “complex adaptive system”, I’m showing a slide with a crossed hierarchical view on the left and a network view on the right, to explain to people that in any system with agents the interactions between them create a network structure.
Always someone opens my eyes to the fact that the hierarchical pyramid view with lines between the top and bottom elements is much more straightforward than the network diagram. While this is a valid comment, it is missing understanding of systems and humans craving for order.
A system is a collection of parts that interact one with each other to reach a purpose. Any Organization (and business) is a system. Therefore, any organization will have a network structure that will be established and continuously change by people in the organization (and robots in the future). The people network is what creates order in the system. The hierarchy structure built by people to gain control with a goal to simplify the system complexity.
But In reality, in Hierarchical organization, we have two layers of structure that create a very complex three-dimensional structure. This 3D structure is ten times more complex than a network structure. The first layer is the network structure that depicts all interaction between people. This network is the natural order created by people over time. The second layer is the hierarchical structure set by the organization management. People find them self in the two layers, and many lines between those two layers make the actual structure a very complex three-dimensional structure.
I know it’s hard to digest it, but sticking to the networking structure ends of with simpler structure than using the deceptive hierarchical structure.