Networks can bring order to complex situations by providing platforms for the vast interdependencies, connectivity and emergent phenomena to express itself. Networks create opportunities for everyone to win and benefit from others’ succeeding. Everyone can have the effect of empowering others by encouraging their contributions, appreciating their sharing, and maintaining the commons. The collective abundance of creativity has the potential to redeem chronically problematic interactions by offering alternative diagnoses, frameworks and stories.
Tom Haskins is groping for a synthesis of various typologies to understand both governance and relational models, and he’s making quick progress.
This gives the following graphic:
Tom then starts describing as examples,
– the chaos-driven tribal order and
Markets deal with complicated problems and networks with complex problems, while chaos leads to retribalization.
These four forms are both subject to historical progression, i.e. the tribal-institutional-market-network evolution, but also exist together in increasingly complex societies which evolve from mono-form tribal to the current hybrid quadriform society.
“Ronfeldt’s inspiration for his TIMN model appears to the historical progression from “uncivilized” hunter gatherers to post-industrial cyber-citizens. Thus his definitions for the four categories relates effectively to how each form first emerged over time. He also explores how prior forms linger as societies evolve. My focus is on what he calls our contemporary quadriform society which incorporates all four forms (T+I+M+N). I’m exploring how each subsequent form incorporates it’s prior form to co-exist with it. Thus my definitions will not provide mutually exclusive categories. This also makes me more likely to see a progression of good coming from a bad episode, rather than a regression from bad to worse tribal chaos. When all four forms are co-existent, the potential to innovate is more likely than whenever it requires a historical progression which must outgrow an incumbent order.”
Tom then attempts a tighter integration of the Cynefin and TIMN models:
“CHAOTIC situations breed a TRIBAL order where NOVEL practices handle the challenges. In chaotic situations, all bets are off about “best practices”. Any correspondence courses on tribal leadership, administration and decision making would find no buyers. The situations are too extreme, unstable and unpredictable for knowledge to become routine, verified or documented. Chaotic situations call for continual exploration, experimentation and variation. Action comes first to get a better sense of the situation which suggests how to respond (Act -Sense – Respond). What worked before may not work again or maintain any hypothesized causal relationships. Policy manuals would become obsolete before the ink dried on the pages. Job Descriptions would be inadequate and misleading. Tribal forms of oral culture and storytelling handle the challenges far better than the other forms.
SIMPLE situations breed an INSTITUTIONAL order where BEST practices handle the challenges. In simple situations, the stability, continuity and longevity enable best practices to get established. Institutional documentation remains valid, useful and practical for years. The variations in the world can be handled with cookie cutter, rubber stamp and carbon copy solutions. Institutional functionaries need only know how to execute the plan that’s guaranteed to work, not troubleshoot, second guess or critique the plan. All that’s required is to sense which situation this is, categorize it accurately and respond with a best practice (Sense – Categorize – Respond). Institutional order handles these challenges the best.
COMPLICATED situations breed a MARKET order where GOOD practices handle the challenges. Rival firms position themselves with varied product/service mixes. Customers are constantly changing their needs, desires, preferences and perceptions. Technology, regulatory legislation and media coverage alters the commercial landscape. The complications defy categorization or the application of best practices. A big investment needs to be made in analyzing what is sensed about this panorama of complications prior to responding with good practices (Sense – Analyze – Respond). Market dynamics handle these challenges the best.
COMPLEX situations breed a NETWORK order where EMERGENT practices handle the challenges. Feedback loops, vicious & virtuous cycles, self-referential messages, layered problems, and self-organizing dynamics all defeat the deliberate formulation of practices. Too many facets have taken on a life of their own with highly interdependent, evolving dimensions. It’s better to let effective practices arise from immersion in the complexity. Probing the immediate situation without prior conditioning, preconceptions or assumptions will yield a clear sense of how to respond in the moment (Probe – Sense – Respond). Network dynamics handle these challenges the best.”
Finally, provisionally I’m assuming as I’m sure more interesting posts will follow, he attempts a synthesis of relational grammars.
The graphic is already extremely illuminating and fruitful:
Here then is the provisional summary of all the previous synthetic attempts:
“Tribes can bring order to chaotic situations by keeping everyone in line. Surpluses get distributed fairly and shortages evened out by the barter and gift economy dynamics. This means that no one is a winner and there’s no way to win in ways that take advantages of others (lose/lose). Everyone is dependent on the tribe for safety, and thus co-dependent, endlessly needy for security, and essentially taking each other hostage to their lack of self reliance. Their tribal culture is powerless in a world of power trippers, colonizers, empire builders and systems of domination. They can migrate, evacuate, take flight and wander as nomads when threatened by land grabs, invasions or violence. Tribes are routinely persecuted in contexts with arrogant institutions, insensitive aristocracies, condescending monarchies or tyrannical dictators. Any member of the tribe who adds to internal instability, chaos or disorder gets ostracized. The fear of being left out from the safety of the herd keeps members from acting out their anti social urges. Being cast outside the tribe if like to deliver fatal consequences in the midst of overpowering and chaotic circumstances.
Institutions can bring order to seemingly simple situations by rule of law and formal social structures. Surpluses get hoarded for lean times and awarded unfairly to those on top of the hierarchy. The top dogs win at the expense of the underdogs. The institution get divided between first and second class citizens which unravels any depending on leadership. Counter-dependent urges get acted undetected by monitoring for deviance, sabotage or traitors. Passive aggressive defiance undermines teamwork, follow through and initiatives. Institutions wallow in stagnation, thwarted by their inability to innovate and change with the times.
Markets can bring order to complicated situations by responding to changing customers, rivals, technologies and resources. Making the sacrifice to invest in long term potentials sets up the next generation winning products, teams and investors to prosper. Power struggles ensue between rival enterprises and opposing camps within an enterprise favoring different innovation strategies. Viable markets foster independence from any monopoly control of prices or brand dominance by introducing diverse services, added value, enhancements and package deals. Customers get rescued from the institutional mass producer that fails to customize, segment and otherwise complicate their market of actual niches, special interests, and cultural diversity.
Networks can bring order to complex situations by providing platforms for the vast interdependencies, connectivity and emergent phenomena to express itself. Networks create opportunities for everyone to win and benefit from others’ succeeding. Everyone can have the effect of empowering others by encouraging their contributions, appreciating their sharing, and maintaining the commons. The collective abundance of creativity has the potential to redeem chronically problematic interactions by offering alternative diagnoses, frameworks and stories.”