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Home > Blog > Pecking orders and network orders
Out of Our Minds
Friday, December 03, 2004 9:31 AM
Pecking orders and network orders
David Weinberger on Culture

I got to have lunch yesterday with Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps, the wife and husband team that's written six books, including Virtual Teams. For the past few years, they've been working closely with a Fortune 100 company you've heard of, looking at what elements of its organization makes it tick ... and which are just tics. They've turned up a fascinating result that they will be writing about at length. But here's the 100,000 foot view:

Take the org chart. Treat it not in the usual way as a network of people but as a network of positions. Look at how many people report in to each position. Diagram it. The picture that emerges looks little like a neat hierarchy in which the lower you go, the more leaves there are on the tree. Instead, the org chart now looks like a diagram of self-organizing networks: A handful of hugely linked nodes and a whole bunch of ones with just a few links. Further, most of the biggest clusters belong to mid-range positions. 'It's a diamond, not a pyramid' says Jeff.

As a result of this analysis, the company has been able to see who needs the most resources, and possibly a little extra vacation time.


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