For nearly a century, hierarchy has been the tool of choice as organizations sought to manage different forms of complexities and scale. However, for the first time in history, we’ve encountered a form of complexity for which hierarchy does not have all the answers. This is the complexity of the accelerated change led by what some call the 4th industrial revolution. Given the pace and continuous nature of change in today’s world, coupled with the sheer diversity of business models, it is safe to say that the old model of top-down hierarchies is changing in many places. It is giving way to boundaryless working, matrix structures, and organizations where everyone, irrespective of the levels, is considered a leader.
Hierarchies have existed as a tool to govern organizations since the origin of organizations. In attempting to define the role of the new “management” layers that were being created by the Industrial revolution, Henri Fayol wrote in 1916: "To manage i...
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