10. Understanding and Changing Loosely Coupled Systems1

Imagine for a moment a network of eight organizations spread across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City that operated quite autonomously yet were held together by a small headquarters composed of a paid part-time administrator and ten elected professionals who served voluntarily as a board of directors with a president and various committee heads. The network had recently experienced a breach of policy and violation of norms by a small group of members. This jolt to the network system led to an emergency meeting of the board of directors to determine what happened, why the breach occurred, and what, if anything, should be done about it. Led by the president, the board decided ...

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