Adhocracy is a flexible, unstructured form of organization that uses specialized multidisciplinary teams but lacks a formal structure. It is the opposite of bureaucracy.
FAQ About Adhocracy
Before we dive into what adhocracy is, let’s answer some frequently asked questions:
What is the origin of the word adhocracy?
The word adhocracy comes from the combination of the prefix “ad-” meaning “to, toward” and the suffix “-cracy” meaning “rule, government.” It was first coined in the 1960s by Warren Bennis and Philip Slater to describe a new approach to organizational management.
What is the opposite of adhocracy?
The opposite of adhocracy is bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are centralized, hierarchical, and operate on a standardized set of rules and procedures. In contrast, adhocracies are decentralized, flexible, and operate on a project-by-project basis.
Why is adhocracy important?
Adhocracy is important because it enables organizations to be more agile and responsive to changing market conditions. It allows for greater creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking. Adhocracies excel at innovation and problem-solving because they are not constrained by the strict hierarchies and bureaucratic processes of other organizations.
What is Adhocracy?
Adhocracy is a style of organization that is fluid, adaptable, and unstructured. It is characterized by specialized multidisciplinary teams organized by function but lacking a formal structure. In an adhocracy, decision-making is decentralized, and authority is distributed among team members based on expertise and merit rather than a hierarchical structure.
Adhocracies are often used in creative industries such as advertising, design, and technology, where innovation and experimentation are necessary for success. They are also employed by startups and small businesses that need to be flexible and responsive in order to survive in a competitive marketplace.
What are the Characteristics of Adhocracy?
Some of the key characteristics of adhocracy include:
- Decentralized decision-making: In an adhocracy, decision-making is distributed among team members based on expertise and merit rather than a hierarchical structure.
- Specialized teams: Adhocracies rely on specialized multidisciplinary teams organized by function rather than traditional departments and divisions.
- Flexibility and adaptability: Adhocracies are able to quickly pivot and adapt to changing market conditions due to their decentralized decision-making and lack of formal structure.
- Experimentation and risk-taking: Adhocracies encourage experimentation and risk-taking in order to drive innovation and solve complex problems.
- Emphasis on creativity: Adhocracies value creativity and independent thinking over strict adherence to rules and procedures.
Examples of Adhocracy
Some examples of organizations that use adhocracy include:
- Google: Google is known for its innovative and experimental culture. It operates in small teams that are free to experiment and develop new products without fear of failure.
- Gore-Tex: Gore-Tex is a materials science company that operates on a lateral model. It has no titles, no bosses, and no formal hierarchy.
- Zappos: Zappos is an online shoe retailer that uses a holacratic approach to management. It is structured around self-organizing teams and distributed decision-making.
Adhocracy is a dynamic and flexible style of organization that allows for greater innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. It operates in the exact opposite way from a bureaucracy and is characterized by decentralized decision-making, specialized teams, and a lack of formal structure. Adhocracies are employed by startups, small businesses, and creative industries that need to be responsive and adaptable in a competitive marketplace.