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Encyclopedia > Decentralization

Decentralization is the process of dispersing decision-making closer to the point of service or action. It occurs in a great many contexts in engineering, management science, political science, political economy, sociology and economics—each of which could be said to study mass decision-making by groups, too large to consult with each other very directly. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Decision making is the cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among variations. ... Engineering is the applied science of acquiring and applying knowledge to design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. ... Management science, or MS, is the discipline of using mathematics, and other analytical methods, to help make better business decisions. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge) is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human social interaction. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ...


Law and science can also be said to be highly decentralized human practices. There are serious studies of how causality and correlations of phenomenon can respectively be determined and agreed across an entire nation, or indeed across the entire human species spread across the planet. While such institutions as the International Criminal Court or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change seem highly centralized, in fact they rely so heavily on the underlying legal and scientific processes that they can be said to simply reflect, as opposed to impose, global opinion. Lady Justice or Justitia is a personification of the moral force that underlies the legal system (particularly in Western art). ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... In probability theory and statistics, correlation, also called correlation coefficient, is a numeric measure of the strength of linear relationship between two random variables. ... A phenomenon (Greek: , pl. ... Official logo of the ICC. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, crime of aggression, and war crimes, as defined by several international agreements, most prominently the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. ... IPCC is the science authority for the UNFCCC The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to evaluate the risk of climate change brought on by humans, based mainly on... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Centralization (or centralisation) is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group. ... Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person (defendant etc. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ...


A central theme in all kinds of decentralization is the difference between a hierarchy, based on: A hierarchy (in Greek: , derived from — hieros, sacred, and — arkho, rule) is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is subordinate to a single other element. ...

  • authority: two players in an unequal-power relationship; and
  • an interface: a lateral relationship between two players of roughly equal power.

The more decentralized a system is, the more it relies on lateral relationships, and the less it can rely on command or force. In most branches of engineering and economics, decentralization is narrowly defined as the study of markets and interfaces between parts of a system. This is most highly developed as general systems theory and neoclassical political economy. Authority- is a very talented rocknroll band out of Columbia, S.C. This power rock trio has its roots in rock, funk, hardcore, and a dash of hip hop. ... Chichicastenango, Guatemala traditional market Market stall in internally displaced persons camp in Kitgum, northern Uganda Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal (Madeira Islands) A market is a mechanism which allows people to trade, normally governed by the theory of supply and demand. ... This article cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... Late Baroque classicizing: G. P. Pannini assembles the canon of Roman ruins and Roman sculpture into one vast imaginary gallery (1756) Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that...

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Organizational Theory

Decentralization is the policy of delegating decision-making authority throughout an organization, relatively away from a central authority. Some features of a decentralized organization are fewer tiers to the organizational structure, wider span of control, and a bottom-to-top flow of decision-effecting ideas.


The organizational structure of the United States Military is an example of a centralized organization. In that organization, many organization-effecting decisions are made by executive level officials or preset policies. These decisions or policies are then enforced by several tiers of the organization upon gradually broader spans of control until it reaches the bottom tier of soldiers or workers. However, theories for highly decentralized military organizations do exist, see for example Ubiquitous command and control and Network Centric Warfare. Essentially, a new Military doctrine made possible by the Information Age. ...


In a more decentralized organization, the top executives delegate much of their decision-making authority to lower tiers of the organizational structure. As a correlation, the organization is likely to run on less rigid policies and wider spans of control among each officer of the organization. The wider spans of control also reduces the number of tiers within the organization, giving its structure a flat appearance. One advantage of this structure, if the correct controls are in place, will be the bottom-to-top flow of information, allowing all decisions among any official of the organization to be well informed about lower tier operations. For example, an experienced technician at the lowest tier of an organization might know how to increase the efficiency of the production, the bottom-to-top flow of information can allow for this knowledge to pass up to the executive officers.


Political theory

Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, observed that the historical progress of economies from feudalism to capitalism was a classic example of decentralization. It relied correspondingly less on the authority of a "nobility", and more on flexible systems of control of capital—the markets themselves, which were relatively merciless in driving down the price of labour as one of many factors of production, or punishing poor investment strategyEnglish nobility could be impoverished by a single bad investment decision, which could not have happened under any feudal system. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Das Kapital (Capital, in the English translation) is an extensive treatise on political economy written by Karl Marx in German. ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... Capitalism generally refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately[1][2] owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a free market. ... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ... Capital has a number of related meanings in economics, finance and accounting. ... In classical economics and all micro-economics labour is a measure of the work done by human beings and is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. ... In economics, factors of production are resources used in the production of goods and services. ... An investment strategy is a set of guidlines, behaviors or procedures designed to maximize overall return for an individuals investment portfolio. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ...


Many, if not most, political theorists believe there are limits to decentralization as a strategy. They assert that any relaxation of direct control or authority introduces the possibility of dissent or division at critical moments, especially if what is being decentralized is decision-making among human beings. Friedrich Engels famously responded to Bakunin, refuting the argument of total decentralization, or anarchism, by scoffing "how these people propose to run a factory, operate a railway or steer a ship without having in the last resort one deciding will, without single management, they of course do not tell us". A political theorist is someone who engages in political theory. ... A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often winning. Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand. ... Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to an idea (eg. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820 – August 5, 1895) was a German social scientist and philosopher, who developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (Russian: Михаил Александрович Бакунин, Michel Bakunin on the grave in Bern), (May 18 (30 N.S.), 1814 – June 19 (July 1 N.S.), 1876) was a well-known Russian revolutionary, and often considered one of the “fathers of modern anarchism. Born in the Russian Empire to a family of Russian... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of philosophies and attitudes which reject any form of compulsory government[1] and support its elimination,[2] often because of a wider rejection of involuntary authority. ...


However, some anarchists have, in turn, responded to his argument, by explaining that they do support a (very limited) amount of centralization, in the form of freely elected and recallable delegates. More to the point from the majority of anarchist perspectives are the real-world successes of anarchist communities, which for the majority only ended when they were defeated by the overwhelming military might of the State or neighboring States. All in all, we do not know what a truly decentralized society would look like over a long period of time since it has never been permitted to exist, however the Zapatistas of Mexico are proving to be quite resilient. Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of philosophies and attitudes which reject any form of compulsory government[1] and support its elimination,[2] often because of a wider rejection of involuntary authority. ... This is a list of past and present anarchist communities. ... A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. ... The flag of the EZLN. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is an armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas, one of the poorest states of Mexico. ...


In "On Authority", Engels also wrote of democratic workplaces that "particular questions arise in each room and at every moment concerning the mode of production, distribution of material, etc., which must be settled by decision of a delegate placed at the head of each branch of labour or, if possible, by a majority vote." In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production (in German: Produktionsweise, meaning the way of producing) is a specific combination of: productive forces: these include human labor-power, tools, equipment, buildings and technologies, materials, and improved land social and technical relations... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Distribution is one of the 4 aspects of marketing. ...


Modern trade unions and management scientists tend to side strongly with Engels in this debate, and generally agree that decentralization is very closely related to standardisation and subordination, e.g. the standard commodity contracts traded on the commodity markets, in which disputes are resolved all according to a jurisdiction and common regulatory system, within the frame of a larger democratic electoral system which can restore any imbalances of power, and which generally retains the support of the population for its authority. A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers... Management science, or MS, is the discipline of using mathematics, and other analytical methods, to help make better business decisions. ... The term Engels could refer to more than one thing: Friedrich Engels, German socialist Engels, Russia, formerly known as Pokrovsk This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Standardisation or standardization (sometimes abbreviated s13n), in the context related to technologies and industries, is the process of establishing a technical standard among competing entities in a market, where this will bring benefits without hurting competition. ... Subordination is a state in which one person or group of people has rights or privileges which rank below those of another. ... A standard form contract (sometimes referred to as an adhesion contract or boilerplate contract) is a contract between two parties that does not allow for negotiation, i. ... This article is in need of attention. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      For other uses, see Democracy (disambiguation). ...


Notable exceptions among trade unions are the Wobblies, and the strong anarcho-syndicalist movement of Spain. However, a strategy of decentralization is not always so obviously political, even if it relies implicitly on authority delegated via a political system. For example, engineering standards are a means by which decentralization of supply inspection and testing can be achieved—a manufacturer adhering to the standard can participate in decentralised systems of bidding, e.g. in a parts market. A building standard, for instance, permits the building trades to train labour and building supply corporations to provide parts, which enables rapid construction of buildings at remote sites. Decentralization of training and inspection, through the standards themselves, and related schedules of standardized testing and random spot inspection, achieves a very high statistical reliability of service, i.e. automobiles which rarely stall, cars which rarely leak, and the like. The IWW Label A Wobbly membership card The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, having much in common with anarcho-syndicalist unions, but also many differences. ... Anarcho-syndicalist flag. ... Inspection in software engineering, refers to peer review of any work product by trained individuals who look for defects using a well defined process. ... Standardized testing is: in theory: a tool to ensure that student knowledge and aptitude in a given subject are examined with the same criteria across different schools. ... Look up Procurement in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Standardized testing is: in theory: a tool to ensure that student knowledge and aptitude in a given subject are examined with the same criteria across different schools. ... The mathematical foundations of statistical reliability are probability and statistics. ... “Car” and “Cars” redirect here. ...


In most cases, an effective decentralization strategy and correspondingly robust systems of professional education, vocational education, and trade certification are critical to creating a modern industrial base. Such robust systems, and commodity markets to accompany them, are a necessary but not sufficient feature of any developed nation. A major goal of the industrial strategy of any developing nation is to safely decentralise decision-making so that central controls are unnecessary to achieving standards and safety. It seems that a very high degree of social capital is required to achieve trust in such standards and systems, and that ethical codes play some significant roles in building up trust in the professions and in the trades. A professional degree or professional membership is an academic degree designed to prepare the holder for a particular career or profession, fields where scholarly research and academic activity are not the work, but rather a profession such as law, medicine, logistics, optometry, architecture, accounting, engineering, religious ministry, or education. ... A blacksmith is a traditional trade. ... A professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation often called simply certification or qualification is a designation earned by a person to certify that he is qualified to perform a job. ... Chicago Board of Trade Futures market Commodity markets are markets where raw or primary products are exchanged. ... A developed country is a country that is technologically advanced and that enjoys a relatively high standard of living. ... A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often winning. Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand. ... A developing country is a country with low average income compared to the world average. ... Warning signs, such as this one, can improve safety awareness. ... Social capital is a core concept in business, economics, organizational behaviour, political science, and sociology, defined as the advantage created by a persons location in a structure of relationships. ... In the context of a code adopted by a profession or by a governmental or quasi-governmental organ to regulate that profession, an ethical code may be styled as a code of professional responsibility, which may dispense with difficult issues of what behavior is ethical. Some codes of ethics are...


The consumer product markets, industrial product markets, and service markets that emerge in a mature industrial economy, however, still ultimately rely, like the simpler commodity markets, on complex systems of standardization, regulation, jurisdiction, transport, materials and energy supply. The specification and comparison of these is a major focus of the study of political economy. Political or other decision-making units typically must be large and leveraged enough for economy of scale, but also small enough that centralised authority does not become unaccountable to those performing trades or transactions at its perimeter. Large states, as Benjamin Franklin observed, were prone to becoming tyrannies, while small states, correspondingly, tended to become corrupt. In commerce, a product is a good economics and accounting good or service which can be bought and sold. ... Look up Market in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In commerce, a product is a good economics and accounting good or service which can be bought and sold. ... This article is about a term used in economics. ... Chicago Board of Trade Futures market Commodity markets are markets where raw or primary products are exchanged. ... Standardization, in the context related to technologies and industries, is the process of establishing a technical standard among competing entities in a market, where this will bring benefits without hurting competition. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Specification may refer to several different concepts: Specification (standards) refers to specific standards Specificatio - a legal concept Specification (regression) refers to the practice of translating theory into a regression model Category: ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political economy was the original term for the study of production, the acts of buying and selling, and their relationships to laws, customs and government. ... ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Finding the appropriate size of political states or other decision-making units, determining their optimal relationship to social capital and to infrastructural capital, is a major focus of political science. In management science there are studies of the ideal size of corporations, and some in anthropology and sociology study the ideal size of villages. Dennis Fox, a retired professor of legal studies and psychology, proposed an ideal village size of approximately 150 people in his 1985 paper about the relationship of anarchism to the tragedy of the commons. Social capital is a core concept in business, economics, organizational behaviour, political science, and sociology, defined as the advantage created by a persons location in a structure of relationships. ... Infrastructural capital refers to any physical means of production or means of protection beyond that which can be gathered or found directly in nature, i. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Management science, or MS, is the discipline of using mathematics, and other analytical methods, to help make better business decisions. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge) is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human social interaction. ... The Tragedy of the Commons is a type of social trap, often economic, that involves a conflict over resources between individual interests and the common good. ...


All these fields recognize some factors that encourage centralised authority and other factors that encourage decentralised "democracy"—balances between which are the major focus of group dynamics. However, decentralization is not only a feature of human society. It is also a feature of ecology. The term group dynamics implies that individual behaviours may differ depending on individuals current or prospective connections to a sociological group. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Another objection or limit to political decentralization, similar in structure to that of Engels, is that terrestrial ecoregions impose a certain fiat by their natural water-circulation, soil, and plant and animal biodiversity which constitutes a form of (what the United Nations calls) "natural capital". Since these natural living systems can be neither changed nor replaced by man, some argue that an ecoregional democracy which follows their borders strictly is the only form of decentralization of larger political units that will not lead to endless conflict, e.g. gerrymandering, in struggle between social groups. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Fiat S.p. ... Rainforests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth Biodiversity is the variation of taxonomic life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or for the entire Earth. ... The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... Natural capital, as described in the book Natural Capitalism, is a metaphor for the mineral, plant, and animal formations of the Earths biosphere when viewed as a means of production of oxygen, water filter, erosion preventer, or provider of other ecosystem services. ... Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The Gerry-Mander first appeared in this cartoon-map in the Boston Gazette, 26 March 1812 Gerrymandering is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage. ... In sociology, a group is usually defined as a collection of humans or animals, who share certain characteristics, interact with one another, accept expectations and obligations as members of the group, and share a common identity. ...


Other similar terms include devolution, deconcentration and delegation.


Decentralization in History

Decentralization and centralization are themes that have played major roles in the history of many societies. An excellent example is the gradual political and organizational changes that have occurred in European history. During the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, Europe went through major centralization and decentralization. Although the leaders of the Roman Empire created a European infrastructure, the fall of the Empire left Europe without a strong political system or military protection. Viking and other barbarian attacks further led rich Romans to build up their latifundia, or large estates, in a way that would protect their families and create a self-sufficient living place. This development led to the growth of the manorial system in Europe. This system was greatly decentralized, as the lords of the manor had power to defend and control the small agricultural environment that was their manor. The manors of the early Middle Ages slowly came together as lords took oaths of fielty to other lords in order to have even stronger defense against other manors and barbarian groups. This feudal system was also greatly decentralized, and the kings of weak "countries" did not hold much significant power over the nobility. Although some view the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages as a centralizing factor, it played a strong role in weakening the power of the secular kings, which gave the nobility more power. As the Middle Ages wore on, corruption in the church and new political ideas began to slowly stregthen the secular powers and bring together the extremely decentralized society. This centralization continued through the Renaissance and has been changed and reformed until our present centralized system which has an excellent balance between central government and decentral balance of power. The Roman Empire and the Middle Ages demonstrate the problems with both radical decentralization and centralization, further proving the importance of centralized nation-states with decentral representation. Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Viking (disambiguation). ... Look up Barbarian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Latifundia are pieces of landed property covering tremendous areas. ... Generic plan of a mediaeval manor; open-field strip farming, some enclosures, triennial crop rotation, demesne and manse, common woodland, pasturage and meadow Manorialism or Seigneurialism describes the organization of rural economy and society in medieval western and parts of central Europe, characterised by the vesting of legal and economic... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Roman Catholic Church or Catholic... This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... Max Barry set up Jennifer Government: NationStates, a game on the World Wide Web inspired by, and promoting, his novel Jennifer Government. ...


Links

Decentralization in the Philippines [1], The determinants of Fiscal Decentralization [2]


See also


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