Heterarchies: reconciling networks and hierarchies

Cumming, Graeme S. (2016) Heterarchies: reconciling networks and hierarchies. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 31 (8). pp. 622-632.

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Abstract

Social-ecological systems research suffers from a disconnect between hierarchical (top-down or bottom-up) and network (peer-to-peer) analyses. The concept of the heterarchy unifies these perspectives in a single framework. Here, I review the history and application of 'heterarchy' in neuroscience, ecology, archaeology, multiagent control systems, business and organisational studies, and politics. Recognising complex system architecture as a continuum along vertical and lateral axes ('flat versus hierarchical' and 'individual versus networked') suggests four basic types of heterarchy: reticulated, polycentric, pyramidal, and individualistic. Each has different implications for system functioning and resilience. Systems can also shift predictably and abruptly between architectures. Heterarchies suggest new ways of contextualising and generalising from case studies and new methods for analysing complex structure-function relations.

Item ID: 45648
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-8383
Funders: James S. McDonnell Foundation, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 07:40
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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