By Ph.G. Herbst
Giving on events a conversation just about this ebook, one of many queries raised used to be, 'surely, what you suggest are flat hierarchies'. This, i believe, provides a sign of ways tricky it may be to conceive of firms which shouldn't have a hierarchical constitution. a slightly related reaction used to be received whilst, within the 1950's, an account was once given to a supervisor of the British Coal Board of an self sufficient composite crew of greater than forty miners, who had taken over entire accountability for a three-shift cycle, and divided the source of revenue received between themselves. His remark used to be that this couldn't probably paintings. the recent mode of labor association which have been developed by way of the miners in different pits within the Durham coal fields was once, on the time, good prior to the present techniques and philosophy of either administration and the exchange Union. It didn't support concerns a great deal that the certain debts have been offered in an educational and clinical shape (Trist et aI. , 1963; Herbst, 1962). i believe that we felt that each one the backing of systematic study and knowledge research will be had to current the case for modes of association, which deviated from traditional perform. despite the fact that, whatever used to be realized from this event. whilst before everything of the 1960's the Norwegian paintings Democratization undertaking was once began, a few demonstration websites have been organize which individuals may examine, and that can functionality as facilities for diffusion.
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Extra info for Alternatives to hierarchies
4. It is only fairly recently that we found that a distinction has to be made between the type of strategy required to establish demonstration experiments and the type of strategy during the diffusion stage. The indications are that the type of strategy which may be optimal for setting up demonstration experiments may have negative consequences at the diffusion stage. There may be a number of reasons for this. a. Those involved in the experiment may develop the culture of an elite and feel that they are rather special and superior.
1. At the diffusion stage direct participation of researchers in the organiza tional change process is no longer feasible nor acceptable. The researcher wiD then no longer have a horse to ride on. This is clearly not a negative sign, since no large scale diffusion process can get on the way until organiza tions see the need and judge themselves capable to go ahead on their own. 2. While up to the stage of establishing demonstration experiments the researcher has an active initiating role, the problems encountered at the diffusion stage can generally not be solved by trying to push the process along.
To loose such a theory, which may represent all that is of value, and also that which constitutes the reality within which one exists, can then be quite threatening. Some years ago when I was engaged in a family study I came across the case of one family where husband and wife did and decided about most things together. This family was among those with the highest amount of tension and conflict. It appears that what they were trying to do, was to implement a democratic family organization and in so doing were not able to TH E LOGI C OF B U REA U C R A T I C H I E RAR C H I C AL DES I GN 27 accept that where appropriate one or other could make a decision, nor were they wilJing to provide sufficient autonomy in the way of permitting each other to engage and decide about some activities themselves.
Alternatives to hierarchies by Ph.G. Herbst