On Group Stability in Hierarchies and Networks
A hierarchical structure is a widespread organizational form in many areas. My aim in this paper is to provide a rationale for this fact based on two premises. First, a group organizes itself so as to achieve efficient coordination. Second, efficient coordination is achieved only if subgroups as well as individuals agree to cooperate. Even in situations in which there are gains to coordination, the agreement of each possible subgroup may be impossible to reach, resulting in instabilities. I argue that a hierarchical organization avoids such instabilities by distributing in an optimal way autonomy and blocking power to a restricted set of subgroups. Comparisons with nondirected networks are drawn.
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