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A way of viewing organizations that does not particularly change their structure, so much as provide new avenues of thought and action. It is one of the many decentralized models of leadership and management gaining popularity ever since the invention of the internet. Like the speed, diversity, and creativity of the internet, networked administration of organizations promises to deliver the same kind of motivation, coordination, and action to the teams hooked into the network.

The atomic unit of the network administered organization is the team gathering, whether done face-to-face or virtually by electronic means. In the center is the meeting itself, represented by a round table around which all attendees sit, or by a group of email addresses kept in the loop for all that goes on within the confines of the electronic meeting.

A picture:

                           White
                            ---
                        -----------  
                 Green ------------- Blue
                       --Gathering--
                       -------------
                        -----------
                            ---
                       Red       Black
Here, each color represents a different participant in the gathering. (Your numbers may vary, of course.) White is the facilitator of the meeting, leading discussion along. Blue acts as White's advisor and chronicler. Green points out new opportunities for growth and exploration. Red, besides comic relief, adds spice, inspiration, and creativity. Black plays the role of caution, skepticism, and is always ready to offer a contrarian counterpoint when needed. (Your roles too may vary. These were added as an example.)

However, this gathering, like a many-pointed star, represents only one node in the network. Other nodes are represented by other gatherings from which each of these participants may draw in new data. Here, Red participates in two gatherings, sharing information from one node to another node in the network.

                           White
                            ---
                        -----------  
                 Green ------------- Blue
                       --Gathering--
                       -------------
                        -----------
                            ---
           Black'      Red       Black
                  ---
              -----------  
             -------------
             --Gathering'-
       Blue' ------------- Green'
              -----------
                  ---
                 White'
Here in the second gathering, Red confers with parallel members of a different discussion, bringing in new ideas and food for thought. Thus information is transfered quickly from subject to subject by the participants in each subject's discussion. No single individual is required to know or oversee everything.

Only each gathering's White participant facilitator must be fully on top of the meeting. In order to function effectively, White must focus on one gathering and cannot spread him or herself too thin among other gatherings. Thus individual leaders become specialized and more devoted to their particular subjects - though they may still function as other "colors" in other gatherings. (One must still have a social life, after all.) Those who never play the role of White may attend many more gatherings, because their specialized concerns are not so pressing.

While the various role colors (or personalities) have many similarities with one another in their parallel gatherings, they may often never meet unless they choose different roles.

A parallel and also quite valuable alternative to this model is the individual-centered view, rather than the gathering-centered view. In this model, instead of individuals forming the spokes out from gatherings, each individual is considered a star, out of which radiates light (ie. information) that other stars gather, absorb, or reflect. Gatherings then happen in the wide space between stars, where it is brighter (and louder) the closer the stars decided to gather. In any event, this is merely a different view of a decentralized organizational model, superimposed on top of existing models that can even work with hierarchies.


P.S. If you are a solitary star that doesn't go to meetings, it's OK, because nobody knows you exist anyway ;)

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