'Holarchy - Levels of Relationship and Purpose'





Definitions:

Each of the circles in the diagram below represents a different level of relationship of the team.

A 'holon' is simultaneously a whole and an element of other wholes.  It is a self-organising, stable 'unit' that has a degree of independence and can handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions.  It is subject to control from multiple higher authorities while providing the proper functionality for the 'more encompassing' wholes.

A 'holarchy' is a hierarchy of self-regulating holons where the wholes recognise their dependence on their subsidiary wholes, and the subsidiary wholes recognise the organising authority of the 'higher level' wholes. Every system (whole/holon) is both a nest for, and is nested within, another system.

(sources:  A. Koestler, What We Learned in the Rainforest, and Wikipedia)
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