How we are structured


Core Team

@murkas, I copied your text to a new topic to separate the discussions a bit.

I started sketching. How would you describe/visualize the organisation to a newcomer?

I made a few different versions:

Feel free to comment or sketch alternatives in the doc

Then, I read some texts of Richard Bartlett, regarding power dynamics and how to structure a decentralised organisation. I found these two articles very helpful:

What are the key takeaways for us (in my opinion)?

… informal hierarchies of a “structureless” group will always be less accountable and fair than a more formal organisation.

Instead of hiding the fact that there are structures and hierarchies, take what is informal and hidden and make it explicit, documented and out in the open.

  • If there is a group, how do I become a member?
  • If someone has the mandate to make decisions within a domain, how do we rotate that mandate?
  • Name the levels of engagement

In my experience it’s much easier to just make the different levels of engagement explicit , give each group of stakeholders a name and set of rights and responsibilities, and create transparent supported pathways for people to move in and out.

Richard is also citing an interesting article by Jo Freeman – The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. (…)

What are your thoughts on this?

1 Like

Good stuff! I’m going to dive into in after the weekend. I’m at a conference.
But regarding structurelessness, there’s been alot thought around this since the 70’s. A short intro in swedish:
I think a lot has to do about the culture and the relations within the group. Structure and structurelessness can both be good and not so good I think. But let’s find our ways around this.
I’m inclined towards a open and transparent structure while nurturing a culture of care, trust and questioning.

Yes, good article! Open and transparent, but still a structure.

Nurturing, as you say, is a keyword here. Not relying on that ad hoc and random interactions will lead to progress but instead establishing practices that performs the actual nurturing and culture building. Person to person stewarding, mutual support within groups (“project kitchens”) and the rest of the stuff we have been discussing - un-conferences etc.

A couple of notable quotes from the article you linked to:

Strukturlöshet leder till att bara några få vet hur beslut tas. Om alla ska kunna delta måste strukturen vara uttalad. Reglerna för beslut måste vara öppna och tillgängliga för alla. Och detta kan bara ske om de är formaliserade.

Jo Freeman definierar elit som en mindre grupp som har makt över en större grupp. De farligaste eliterna är de som inte är kända för den större gruppen. Strukturlösa grupper skapar just sådana eliter. Dessa eliter gömmer sej under slogans som anti-elitism och strukturlöshet.

Here is the organizational sketch we did during the last core meeting. @zaunders will begin a blog post on how we organise, @kristofer will make a better looking illustration.

@kristofer: Moved these notes to a separate comment:

A start for a Structure

This is a thought around the different levels of involvement in the structure F//S.

0 - level:

  • Core/Service Team
    • Functions… (to be added)
  • Needs / Purpose / Principles
    • Communicating, Reconsidering…
  • Advice process
  • Re- evaluate / Improve the structure

1 - level:

  • The network
    • Matchmaking
    • Initiate Meetings
    • Communication outwards
  • Exploring
    • Mapmaking / visualizing
    • Links and media
  • Ideas nurturing
    • Innovations
    • Support and help developing existing initiatives
      • Meeings weekly and monthy

Archiving this topic in favour of the three-in-one topic: