windseye on Sun, 4 Nov 2001 23:06:44 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> NetHierarchies & NetWar

Brian and Willard,

Regarding the differences and similarities and the interaction between
hierarchies and networks, or the incorporation of one inside the other, it
is critically to examine some of the characteristic defining differences
between the two types of organizations and to examine the temporal
consequences of each. Hierarchies are premised on control, power,
information, and decision making dispersed from high to low. At the lowest
levels the scope, range, degree of power, control and choice are extremely
limited. Capacity to respond, revise, modify either overall tactics or
strategy is either extremely limited or non-existent. Certainly shifting
the field of action and objectives is not possible.

Networks on the other hand are premised on open information, autonomy,
dispersal of power and responsibility, independent analysis and decision
making, identification of problems to be solved within the context of the
overall set of guidelines, and capacity to assist or guide the network
into redefining its range, scope, needs, and goals.

Watch over time to not whether individual people within a hierarchy or a
network become more "democratic" over time and experience in one culture
(net or hierarchy)  or another. The characteristics of a network are more
congruent with democratic stance and functioning. Which is more conducive
to developing functioning autonomous individuals who act democratically?

It may well be that anyone functioning long enough in a network,
especially successfully, make take on the characteristics and behaviors
most useful for the network approach to be successful and they may become
"radicalized" in the process; they may never be able to blindly
participate in a hierarchical organization, again. This could be
simultaneously the real threat to existing hierarchies, and the real
promise of networks.

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