Clay Shirky on the four primary factors motivating participation

Agree totally; although Clay isn't saying anything new (but he is saying it in a nice, simple way - or at least you are summarizing it that way). I always argued that wikis = adhocracies, and this is what Mintzberg and others have been saying about adhocracies. On the second thought, Clay may be saying something new, if he is equating hobbies to adhocracies, I think he may be onto something quite interesting here (I've always meant to read up more on the sociology of leisure, but haven't gotten around to it yet).

So, useful questions: what makes adhocracies work well? And what destroys them? There are answers to those issues in existing literature, and we may be well-advised to read up a little on it (incidentally, improving Wikiepdia's article on adhocracy is one of my future projects).

Piotrus03:49, 8 December 2009

Piotrus, Wikipedians never cease to amaze me: who are you, that you know Henry Mintzberg? I know him because I am 1) Canadian and 2) a bit of a management-theory geek. But he is not really really widely known.

Here are the characteristics of an adhocracy, according to our article. Not sure how useful it is, but FWIW :-)

  • highly organic structure
  • little formalization of behavior
  • job specialization based on formal training
  • a tendency to group the specialists in functional units for housekeeping purposes but to deploy them in small, market-based project teams to do their work
  • a reliance on liaison devices to encourage mutual adjustment, the key coordinating mechanism, within and between these teams
  • low standardization of procedures, because they stifle innovation
  • roles not clearly defined
  • selective decentralization
  • work organization rests on specialized teams
  • power-shifts to specialized teams
  • horizontal job specialization
  • high cost of communication (Dramatically reduced in the Networked Age)
  • culture based on democratic and non-bureaucratic work
Sue Gardner08:15, 8 December 2009