- SG I, Part A - What would an operational level governance look like?
- SG I, Part B - Operational level for human society
- SG II, Part A - Coordination level (Logistical) for human society
- SG II, Part B - Coordination level (Tactical) for human society
Now in this installment:
SG III - Strategic Management
Having covered the nature of coordination level hierarchical control, I turn, at last, to strategic management, the highest level in the hierarchy. As with the prior installments I first discuss strategic control in nature to show that this is, indeed, the natural way to organize governance systems. In the essay I write:
A strategy is often characterized as a long-term program of actions, to be carried out by the tactical and logistic controllers, geared to position the entity in the most favorable way as the future unfolds.
But it turns out that for almost all of the natural living world strategic management is actually achieved by virtue of evolution. It is only in primates, especially the great apes, that we see the emergence of an explicit form of individually selectable strategic decisions in brains. In man the extent of strategic management is quite advanced. Natural human strategic thinking not only covers the individual but includes family, friends, and villages. It extends farther into the future than coordination planning. And it depends heavily on an accurate assessment of the environment, the dynamics of components in the environment, and of one's own (and the group's own) capabilities.
I spend some time explaining the evolutionarily recent parts of the human brain that are responsible for strategic decision processing and its relationship to the coordination level. I then discuss the strategic thinking/planning cycle and how it relies on a wealth of tacit knowledge in order for judgment to guide these kinds of decisions. That knowledge, I explain, is in the form of neural-based models of everything outside of that patch of brain, including other parts of the brain. Models are essential for forward thinking. One runs one's model of the world in fast forward in order to anticipate a more distant future while also running the models of tactical interactions so as to imagine what one should be doing in the future to best situate with the environment at that time.
Having argued that the hierarchical control model is complete in the human brain, I turn to human organizations as examples where the model has naturally evolved outside the heads of any one individual. Management science has begun to study these structures in a formal way. Most larger organizations and many small ones actively engage in strategic planning to do exactly what an individual is doing - trying to better their situation in their environments.
And finally I examine various governance systems that have evolved in different countries and different times. They all show the tendency to form natural management hierarchies. This tells us that our social enterprises are undergoing evolution toward that form. I examine some of the failings, especially at the nation-state level. But I argue that we have reached a stage in our development where we need to consider the whole world as one system in need of a complete, and hence sapient, hierarchical governance system. It would be complete with a well functioning strategic level of management.
This completes this series of essays outlining the main points of hierarchical, sapient governance. In future blogs I will take up these points in various ways as I continue to ask what kind of world do we want? And, what kind of world can we have?