Jon Lebkowsky: Adriana Lukas – how to avoid hierarchies – the five laws of heterarchy

11 Society, Blog Wisdom, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence
Jon Lebkowsky

Adriana discusses her thinking about heterarchy, including initial thoughts about five laws of heterarchy.

A heterarchy is a system of organization replete with overlap, multiplicity, mixed ascendancy, and/or divergent-but-coexistent patterns of relation. Definitions of the term vary among the disciplines: in social and information sciences, heterarchies are networks of elements in which each element shares the same “horizontal” position of power and authority, each playing a theoretically equal role.

“Hierarchies seem to be like oxygen: they’re all around us, pervasive, visible only to those who study them. Hierarchies are the most efficient system for management and distribution of scarce resources… given that the physical world is defined by scarcity of all sorts, it goes a long way toward explaining hierarchy as our default organizational structure….There is potential to come up with alternatives to our hierarchical organizational defaults, and I think that would be good news for all those trapped in stifling and disempowering organizations.”