n Journal of Public Administration - Self-organising structures : theoretical construct or practical reality?

Volume 36, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The organic and biological metaphors increasingly utilised in organisation theory to describe organisations - emphasising processes instead of structures - are used in this article to explore the notion of self-organising structures. To create room for flexibility and innovation this type of organisation uses self-organising teams as its basic mode of operation. The team members have multiple, overlapping skills so that they can produce and reproduce the competencies, skills, vision and values of the organisation on an ongoing basis. As a point of departure, some of the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin the notion of self-organising structures are described before the practical and leadership implications for the design and functioning of these organisational forms are considered. Finally, a real- life organisational application of the self-organising concept will be illustrated through a case study example.

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