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Adhocracy Organizational Model

When did bureaucracy become a dirty word? Almost certainly when the idea of adhocracy emerged.

The two are polar opposites: radically different ways to coordinate an organization. The one a set of rules and systems that overlay everything. The other, a fresh recreation for every new need.

But, while the concept of bureaucracy goes back to the nineteenth century; adhocracy is new. But maybe not as new as you think.

Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)

The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.2
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 2: Organizational Models

Other videos in this section include:
🎬 Edgar Schein’s Two Organizational Cultures – https://youtu.be/9C64CXJw83E
🎬 Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types – https://youtu.be/JmvYcskjh3E
🎬 Charles Handy’s Gods of Management – https://youtu.be/yClxu7dzmB4
🎬 Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization – https://youtu.be/dGGKT0Mr_HA
🎬 Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model – https://youtu.be/69AYxCvT7m4
🎬 Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company – https://youtu.be/gFRXiMkIg6k
🎬 The Matrix Organization Model – https://youtu.be/hJ9wbFgmtKM
🎬 Peter Senge’s Learning Organization – https://youtu.be/k1k2h1l2VO0
🎬 The Agile Organization – https://youtu.be/67NVUeFQMy4
🎬 Brian Robertson’s Holacracy – https://youtu.be/hz3khhOLT5E
🎬 Virtual Organizations – https://youtu.be/Hsovj2jPNPA

Adhocracy is a temporary structure for running a project. But, some organizations are trying to make this flexible approach a new norm. A kind of permanent impermanence.

The idea is to replace a rigid bureaucratic structure with a fluid, informal set of relationships.

Investopedia’s description captures as much about why it is of value as it does about what it is.
‘A form of business management which emphasizes individual initiative and self-organization in order to accomplish tasks.’

The Origin of Adhocracy
The term ‘adhocracy’ was coined by Warren Bennis. He predicted agile project teams within a loose structure. The idea was popularized by Alvin Toffler in his best seller, ‘Future Shock’. He envisaged flat organizational structures, with rapidly forming and re-forming project teams. He called these organizations ‘kinetic‘.

It was Henry Mintzberg who took the idea and gave it rigor. We first saw this term in our video on Mintzberg’s 4 Organizational Types – https://youtu.be/JmvYcskjh3E

Mintzberg understood that projects come together within a larger organization, adopt whatever structure they need, and morph as the project evolves. There’s often a high degree of self-direction among highly competent team members. Coordination comes not through the structure, but by effective communication between people.

In this sense, a good description of adhocracy is Robert Waterman’s, from his 1990 book, Adhocracy (https://geni.us/IwQPJ). In an adhocracy, the organization…
‘cuts across normal bureaucratic lines to capture opportunities, solve problems and get results.’

Note: Mintzberg saw two models:
– Operational Adhocracy, which works on behalf of its clients, like service businesses
– Administrative Adhocracy, which comes together to serve its parent organization.

Both models create adaptability and react to changes in circumstance, but are poor at strategy building, because members have little investment in the adhocracy’s long-term development.

It remains to be seen whether organizations can develop a new form of ‘permanent adhocracy’ in which these evolving flexible units can together form the whole of a permanent organization. I suspect this may be possible – under the new term ‘The Agile Organization’ – https://youtu.be/67NVUeFQMy4

Free Resources
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
– Management Courses Onboarding Kit – https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

– Understanding Organizations https://geni.us/oB774Do
– Images of Organization https://geni.us/hrOemEs
– Inside Organizations: 21 Ideas for Managers https://geni.us/YwwL
– Gods of Management: The Four Cultures of Leadership https://geni.us/bpPeC5

Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)

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Introduction to Organizations: A Compilation of our Introductory Videos
What is BIG DATA? And introducing the 3 (or 5) V’s
What is Globalization?
Account Management: What is Account-based Selling?
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
The Disney Creativity Strategy: The NLP Way to Test Ideas
Cognitive Reappraisal: How to Control Negative Thoughts
What is Advertising? And What are its Benefits?
What is A/B Testing? …and Split Testing?
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? …And How to Use it.
What is the Customer Journey? And How to Visualize it
What is Diamond Feeback?
What is the Marketing Channel Mix? Promotion Channel Strategy
What is a Customer Persona? …or Buyer Persona or Marketing Persona
What is a Brand Marketing Plan?
What is a Brand Strategy?
What is Brand Management?
Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship
Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations
Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture
Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization
Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People
Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory
How we Work: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cross-Organization Cultural Dimensions
National Culture within an Organization: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Quinn and Cameron: Competing Values Model of Organizational Culture
Edgar Schein’s 3 Levels of Organizational Culture
Cultural Web: Johnson & Scholes on Where Culture Originates
Introduction to Organizational Culture
Empowerment: The Organization Giving up its Power
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations
Power in Organizations: The Power of Governance
Robin Fincham: Three Levels of Organizational Power
Amitai Etzioni: How Organizations Secure Compliance
Organizational Power: What is Power?
Virtual Organizations
Brian Robertson’s Holacracy Organizational Model
The Agile Organization
Peter Senge’s Learning Organization
The Matrix Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company
Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization
Charles Handy’s Gods of Management
Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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