|Re: Can We Live Without Hierarchy?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Tom Smyth (tomsassafras.coop)|
|Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:00:38 -0700 (PDT)|
You can delegate and have leadership and still not have hierarchy. Hierarchy to me implies rigidity: the boss is the boss and has the final say and that's all there is to it. Instead of that you can have a democratically elected and recallable leader that plays an executive role. This may technically be "hierarchy", but not of the rigid sort that article 5 refers to. On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 6:11 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at] comcast.net> wrote: > > Folks — > > I’ve been (re)reading the Coho US “6 Defining Characteristics of > Cohousing”, and keep getting hung up on Number 5: > > 5. Non-hierarchical structure and decision-making. Leadership roles > naturally exist in cohousing communities, however no one person (or > persons) has authority over others. Most groups start with one or two > “burning souls.” As people join the group, each person takes on one or more > roles consistent with his or her skills, abilities or interests. Most > cohousing groups make all of their decisions by consensus, and, although > many groups have a policy for voting if the group cannot reach consensus > after a number of attempts, it is rarely or never necessary to resort to > voting. > > "Non-hierarchical structure" is something of an oxymoron: Structure > implies hierarchy, where distinct components have differentiated purposes > and relationships. Without hierarchy, you don’t have structure, you have > just a blob. > > Well, let’s not get hung up on parsing the language. Here’s the real > problem: What about delegation? In an ideal world, perhaps, all decisions > are made by all the members in the room at the same, in “plenary” or “full > circle” or whatever. But in the real world, hardly any of us work that > way. Instead, we (meaning, in cohousing, plenary) subdivide aim and > decisions into logical groupings, and delegate the authority to make these > kinds of decisions to “committees” or “circles” or whatever. So, we have a > hierarchy: Plenary, plus the committees to which plenary has delegated a > defined amount of discretionary authority. Some cohos even have > sub-committees that also have powers as well as duties. > > All of which sounds like hierarchy to me. Lacking any delegation, all you > have is centralized command and control. I am not persuaded that central > command and control is an OK organizational model, even when the center is > plenary (or, especially when the center is plenary). So I am wondering if > Characteristic 5 needs a clarification or re-write … > > Thanks, > Philip Dowds > Cornerstone Cohousing > Cambridge, MA > > mobile: 617.460.4549 > email: rpdowds [at] comcast.net > _________________________________________________________________ > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/ > > > -- Tom Smyth Worker-Owner, Sassafras Tech Collective Specializing in innovative, usable tech for social change sassafras.coop *·* @sassafrastech Resident, Touchstone Cohousing touchstonecohousing.org
- Re: Can We Live Without Hierarchy?, (continued)
- Re: Can We Live Without Hierarchy? Kathryn McCamant, July 30 2015
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