A conventional organizational classification schema should be expanded to include heterarchy, in addition to networks (Powell 1990), markets, and hierarchy (Williamson 1976). Heterarchy is a precise amalgamation of networks and hierarchies (Stephenson 2009). This organizational structure challenges more traditional forms of governance and organizational change and therefore presents an opportunity for organization development (OD) research in the twenty-first century.
We are on the cusp of a tipping point in twenty-first-century governance. With the addition of network science in OD and the general, albeit young, practice of social network analysis, academics are researching and recording the successes and failures of singular hierarchical governance in diverse cultures in global society. Social network analysis is best defined as the practice of mapping and measuring a network of social relationships. A network is depicted as a set of nodes, representing individual actors, and edges, representing the relationships between the individuals and usually drawn as lines connecting the nodes to each other. A network diagram can represent friendship, kinship, market relations, and organizational behavior.
Singular hierarchical governance, meaning a chain of command, worked well when the world was large and flat. That was before the advent of the digital domain that has made our world small and über connected ...