The Tyranny of Structurelessness

The Tyranny of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman.

  • Continuous Organizations Don’t Make Sense for High Growth Startups

    Continous organizations are touted as a way to run a company in a radically transparent way on a blockchain. It aims to balance the incentives of the company owners, investors, and employees. However, this is probably impossible to do for a high growth startup.

  • Elite Are Groups Not Individuals

    An elite individual is an oxymoron. The nature of an elite is membership to a group that exhibits informal influence or control over a larger group. This is often misused in politics “candidate x is an elite”. Regardless of how well known an individual is they can never be an elite.

  • Formalized Structures Afford Everyone the Opportunity to Be Involved

    When rules are implicit, only those who know how decisions are made can participate. The only way one can know how decisions are made are to spend enough time cultivating friendships with the elites that establish the informal structures of the group. Therefore, informal structures are exclusionary (one must be a member of the elite) and have other negative consequences.

  • Negative Consequences of Informal Structures

    Some of the downsides of informal structures in an unstructured group are:

  • Unstructured Groups Form the Basis for Elites

    When there is no formal structure in a group of people that interact over any significant amount of time, informal structures appear. Informal structures are communication channels through networks of friends in the group that share similar beliefs and traits that give rise to influence. This is the nature of elites—a small group of insiders that exhibits informal influence over a larger group because they know how decisions are made.