Are Heirarchies All Bad? LO6826

Julie Beedon (
Fri, 19 Apr 1996 22:01:02

Replying to LO6809 --

Eric set me thinking about heirarchies...

>By logical conclusion, we can eliminate middle
>management, since we no longer need that control

and yet this is not the only logical conclusion .. and how logical is it
anyway??? It assumes somehow that the *only* role for middle managers is
one of 'control' not sure this is all that logical .. as circumstances and
frames of reference change so too (surely) can roles and

> I would argue that in some ways, we need that hierarchy now more than

I am in some sympathy with this viwpoint - why? - because through some
whole system experiences with a large scale leadership interactive session
I learnt some (painful) lessons about the nature of the role of middle
managers in a largely dispersed organisation. They are largely the place
where the whole system comes together!! - 'above' them people specialise
and can develop things in isolation (especially if they have not learned
the lessons of whole systems and internal customer supplier relationships)
below them people have individual jobs to do and so specialise as well ...
and so they need to understand something of all the specialisms above and
below them and coordinate the alignment of systems, strategies and
performance.... without them connections might not get made..... with them
operating with new paradigms of caching and facilitating rather than
commanding and controlling, leading etc... shared visions can emerge ...
team learning can develop and breakthroughs can be made...

> leading even small groups of 10 or 20 people is a
>difficult task in itself. How do we expect to develop real leadership
>skills within an organization, if the jump from being a worker (producer)
>to being a supervisor or manager involves the jump from managing one
>(yourself & your own personal time) to supervising 30 or 40 people.

I suppose many organisations are managing to develop this through team
leaders who emerge from within the team itself or through self-managing
teams sharing responsibility and rotating a variety of leadership


Julie Beedon <>

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