Are Hierarchies All Bad? LO6986

Scott R. Cypher (
Thu, 25 Apr 1996 21:53:52 -0400

Replying to LO6965 --

>From Andrew Moreno:
> So, interdependence = flows of communication between members? If so, then
> the quality of communication between members determines the quality of
> interdependency and contingency?

Interdependence is more than flows of communications. Interdependece is
the strength of relationships among components. Different components have
different numbers and types of linkages with other components.
Interdependence is a system attribute, and is based on the technology
relationship among components (Thompson, 1967).

I would want to choose my communication flows based on the perceived and
actual interdependence. The only way I'm aware interdependence can be
managed is by changing group composition and group mission/tasks. From my
point of view interdependence dictates how I manage linkages
(communication, production, management, maintenance). Communication
systems themselves don't increase or decrease interdependence.

[Read Organizational Linkages: Understanding the productivity paradox,
Harris Ed. National Research Council, 1994]

>From Julie Beedon:
>I am not sure if this is what we were doing but in a regorganisation I
>recently worked with they were re-organising around process and spent a
>great deal of time in dialogue about the need for a process leader ....
>and what the role of that process leader would be ... some teams ended up
>as quite large self-managing groups because of the nature of their process
>- others with leaders..... some leaders do nat have people in their
>process but they lead the cross process integration .... we are working on
>implementation now and it does not seem heiarchical to me .....

Have you talked about how this process interacts other processes? This
reorganization will create side effects on other organizational
components/divisions/processes. Process leader would be the one who needs
to be aware of sequential interdependecies (upstream/downstream),
reciprocal interdepencies (2way street), and miscellaneous loosely coupled
relationships and how as you change your system, other systems will

-- (Scott R. Cypher)

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