The Starfish And The Spider:The Unstoppable Power Of Leaderless

Decent Essays
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom (South Asian Journal Management, 2011) is an organizational book written for business leaders that described how a decentralized and centralized organization differ, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each style in managing an organization.
The authors gave us a very compelling contrast between centralized and decentralized organization. A spider epitomizes a centralized organization. Spider has eight legs and a central nervous system. The head controls the movements of the legs. If you cut or damaged the head, the spider will not be able to move and eventually dies. Like most of the company’s that exist today
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Surprisingly, there are successful organizations that behave like a starfish. Good examples are Wikipedia, Alcohol Anonymous, YouTube, Skype, and Craigslist. These organizations do not have a CEO, if there’s a leader, they do not hinder their people in making their own decision, and the group becomes creative and is productive. They have the freedom to do things that they think that will help the organization to be successful.
The authors also mentioned the eight major principles of decentralization: (Brafman & Beckstrom, 2007)
(1) When attacked, a decentralized organization tends to become even more open and decentralized. An example of this principle is when MGM a filed a lawsuit against Napster a decentralized organization, that caused the later to file for bankruptcy, but this incident did not stop people downloading music for free. A more decentralized Kazaa emerges and millions of free music were copied and downloaded (p.21). (2) It’s easy to mistake starfish for spiders. Like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there is no leader. Everyone is in charge. When you become a member; you become part of the leadership (p.36). (3) An Open system doesn’t have a central intelligence; the intelligence is spread throughout the system. Just like AA, it has an open system, it is constantly multiplying, you don’t know how many members
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