Distributed control is one of the attributes that can be added to any organization or group to improve its ability to deal with complexity.
Several sciences explore how systems (including organizations) are dealing with internal and external complexity extremely successfully. The goal of this series of posts is to explain in plain business English what are those conditions. I hope that this series will help you to understand or at least learn about dealing with complexity.
Distributed control is the ability of organizations to operate with little or no central control. Distributed control is not equivalent to no control. It is the distribution of decision making and taking action to groups and individuals in the organization.
Control still exists, just on a localized basis. In reality, there can be many variations between central controlled and distributed control. For example, the concept of division introduces to the business world by general motors was one of the first decentralization of control. It gave divisions the ability to make decisions about the business they ran.
On the other side of the scale, more progressive models such as the one created my morning star –
Between those two any organization has a wide variety of options. Science proved that it’s better to deal with complexity by adopting decentralization approaches. Several companies (Zappos, Hair, Patagonia, etc.) already took advantage of this approach.