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The Truth About Hierarchy by J. Stuart Bunderson, Bret Sanner

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The Truth About Hierarchy

Hierarchies are often seen as obstacles to innovation. However, a growing body of research shows that the right kind of hierarchy can help teams become better innovators and learners.

Experts, academics, and experienced innovators frequently espouse the virtues of eliminating hierarchies to make sure every idea is heard and to unlock innovation.1 As intuitively appealing as this view is, it does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, a growing body of research, including studies by one of this article’s authors, shows that the right hierarchy can help teams become better innovators and learners.2 We have also seen what happens when teams insist upon being flat. They often ...

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