“The future of schools lies in networks rather than hierarchies, in lateral rather than vertical organisations. Networks cannot be managed the same way that hierarchies are managed. Social networking is a different way of organising.”
This week I have been thinking about the concept of Communities of Learning. George Siemens has been writing about moving from hierarchies to networks for a long time, and when Matt Esterman and I wrote about Teacher-Led Conferences for Learning Forward, we reported,
“Brafman & Beckstrom (2007) contrast traditional “spider” organizations which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary “starfish” organizations which depend on the power of peer to peer relationships. Their metaphor is that if you chop off a spider’s leg, it will be permanently crippled. However, if you chop off a starfish’s leg it will grow another one and the old leg can grow into a completely new starfish.”
I have recently come across this article on Hierarchy and Network which asserts that a hierarchy opposes change and that,
“The successful organization of the future will have two organizational structures: a Hierarchy, and a more teaming, egalitarian, and adaptive Network….My idea of the Network is a system of teams with representatives from all divisions and all levels, who leave formal titles at the door to participate in a decidedly anti-hierarchical forum….With this Network, potential opportunities and changes are identified, urgency around tomorrow’s possibilities is fostered and maintained, strategies for organization-wide changes are formed, barriers identified and addressed, and change is achieved.”
I am fascinated by the concept of network leadership in schools and would like to explore this further.