Adhocracy – Advantages and Disadvantages

What Is Adhocracy?

Adhocracy is different from other approaches to business management in that it emphasizes individual initiative while also recognizing the need for organizations to function efficiently and effectively.

From this perspective, an effective adhocracy is flexible enough to incorporate changing circumstances and new needs while remaining rooted in an underlying structure that allows for development and progression within an agreed-upon range of values and principles.

How Adhocracy Works?

Adhocracy is a radical way of making decisions based on innovative technology, transparency, and collaboration. Adhocracy is a new way of making decisions in your organization, putting your decision-making process online. It will enable you to make decisions faster and more effectively than before.

Adhocracy can be a powerful tool in organizations of all sizes. It works best with smaller groups because problems can be resolved more quickly and immediately. However, large organizations can use Adhocracy in some specific areas. Adhocracy in large organizations might lead to poor results. A team may not do the right job and present the manager with unfinished or incomplete work.

Characteristics of Adhocracy

  • Adhocracy is a team structure in which the organization’s structure emerges organically rather than being formally defined.
  • A lot of formalized behavioral expectations do not bind an organization operating in an adhocracy mode.
  • The Adhocracy has no permanent positions and allows for job specialization; however, these positions are not necessarily based on formal training. The typical employee of an adhocracy is multi-talented and willing to take on multiple duties.
  • Adhocracy is a management style where specialists can form market-based project teams to accomplish specific goals instead of being tied down to certain functional units.
  • Adhocracy is a non-standardized work style.
  • Adhocracies are environments where roles and responsibilities aren’t clearly defined.
  • Power rests with individuals with specific expertise in their fields and works with other experts to get tasks done.

3 key features of Adhocracy

1. Coordinating activities around opportunities

Adhocracy is a model of governance in which there are no rules. An adhocracy can be seen as a network of peers who coordinate their actions quickly and easily around opportunities. In an adhocracy, members focus on a project rather than a comprehensive plan. This produces a higher return on attention than in other networks – and allows more creativity for development.

2. Making decisions through experimentation

One of the main characteristics of an adhocracy is its experimental approach to decision-making. The quickest way to get involved with customers is to try things out and listen to their feedback. 

Adhocracy is a structure that can be implemented in various business settings, which keeps decision-makers on hand without necessarily being in the direct line of work. This enables individuals to have the right amount of hands-on and initiative takers experience. However, the same effect can also be had if the implementation is done properly on social media or online communities.

3. Motivating people through achievement and recognition

In adhocracies, motivation centers on following the rules and eliminating obstacles. Adhocrats take pride in staying out of each other’s way to make room for others to achieve.

Special Considerations

Adhocracy is a term used by Waterman that can describe any organization that works outside of traditional business structures to solve problems and capture opportunities. Adhocracy is a model of organization in which authority and decision-making are distributed throughout an organization and values innovation, creativity, flexibility, performance, and results.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Adhocracy 

Adhocracy is a principle, process, and practice of spontaneous management. It is considered better than bureaucracy for its flexibility, capacity for self-organization, and handling ambiguity, complexity, and change.

Adhocracy is a positive leadership approach which is essentially a willingness to take initiatives and provide solutions as problems surface. These are generally seen as opportunities for creating innovative solutions but are also viewed as distractions from the task at hand.

Adhocracies do not always articulate clear goals for their projects and do not provide consistent communication among the team members, resulting in inconsistent solutions. Because of this, the Adhocracy tends to make impulsive decisions, which can consist of improper solutions. Researchers recommend creating a hybrid kind of structure called Adhocracy/Bureaucracy to attribute more effectiveness to adhocracies.