There are two types of hierarchy in organisations, each resulting in completely different cultures.


The organisation is based on how hierarchy works in machines. The design of the organisation is based on rigid, linear, rules. The industrial hierarchy is designed with definitive roles, fixed boundaries, operating with “power-over” others. The measure of success is what is happening in each role. Focus on power is about who is above you and who is below you. The flow of authority is primarily vertical, with add-on’s for lateral relationships to support the vertical.


The organisation is based on how hierarchy works in nature. The design of the organisation is based on organic, non-linear, emergent relationships. The system is continuously learning and adapting. The natural adaptive hierarchy is not designed, it is nurtured and cultivated through continuous sensing, learning, feedback, creative conflict. Focus on power is about how you work with others. The success of any individual role or individual is based not the quality of relationships with other roles/individuals.

The underlying the definition of RA and its principles is a culture that is based on a natural adaptive hierarchy.

This is because 19th century industrial assumptions of an enterprise as a factory is no longer relevant. In the 21st century globalized, digitally connected world, the key measures of success are the resilience that comes from requisite agility.