Cleararchy isn’t pro hierarchy. But it is pro dealing-with-inevitable-hierarchy.
To paraphrase Nietzsche:
All things (even data) are subject to interpretation and the interpretation that prevails is a function of power and not necessarily truth.
This is unfortunately still true at the higher rungs of most large organizations, even those that claim to be data-driven. Data is still subject to interpretation and when there is more than one interpretation, hierarchy triumphs. Cleararchy doesn’t encourage hierarchy. However, it is realistic about what generally works in the present state of human evolution. Most humans crave for control and therefore power. One may argue that this craving is not innateto human nature, that it is a side effect of the social environment, but that is beside the point here. Organizations consist of people from society as it is, not as it could be. Therefore, Cleararchy doesn’t discourage hierarchy when it comes to decision making.
Cleararchy acknowledges the craving for control and deals with it. Self-organization or self-management approaches simply don’t acknowledge current reality that is readily visible at the higher rungs of organizations and has been the subject of several books. Pretending these drives don’t exist and attempting self-organization leads to a tyranny of structurelessness.
For instance, Tom Reiger, author of the book,“Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies From the Inside Out and What to Do About It”, calls out parochialism, territorialism and empire-building as organizational barriers to agility and innovation. Parochialism prioritizes “local needs and goals” over “broader objectives and outcomes”. Territorialism is the “hoarding or micromanaging of internal headcount, resources or decision authority in an effort to maintain control”. Empire building refers to “attempts to assert control over people, functions or resources in an effort to regain or enhance self-sufficiency”.
Just like how software accumulates technical debt unless maintained well, organizations accumulate organizational debt in the absence of counteracting organizational mechanisms.