I love finding new words (adhocracy has been around since the 1970’s but it’s new to me). Most sites about adhocracy refer to it as a company structure or some sort of “job” but it works for me equally well as a description of commons-based peer production. From wikipedia:

When done well, Adhocracy can be very good at problem solving and innovations and thrives in a changing environment. It requires sophisticated and often automated technical systems to develop and thrive. Characteristics of an adhocracy:

  • highly organic structure
  • little formalization of behavior
  • job specialization based on formal training (I disagree. LP)
  • a tendency to group the specialists in functional units for housekeeping purposes but to deploy them in small, market-based project teams to do their work.
  • a reliance on liaison devices to encourage mutual adjustment, the key coordinating mechanism, within and between these teams
  • low standardization of procedures, because they stifle innovation
  • roles not clearly defined
  • selective decentralization
  • work organization rests on specialized teams
  • power-shifts to specialized teams
  • horizontal job specialization
  • high cost of communication
  • culture based on democratic and non-bureaucratic work

Better than bureaucracy. Go through these points and consider say the history and structure of communities for the purpose of developing open source software, maybe Linux or similar. Rinse and repeat for open source knowledge (the Wikipedia community for example). Then move through your own networks involved in collaboration and see how these features work throughout them. Except for the bit “job specialization based on formal training” – but that is obvious. The “Legend in Their Own Lunchtime” member of a community may not have formal training but their passion and research and understanding may well surpass the “experts” by a country mile. The Informed Amateur.