Adhocracy Sociology Definition


Adhocracy is a term used to describe an organization where members work in teams to solve issues related to the organization while developing their own rules on the spot.

US-based author Robert H. Waterman, Jr. states that adhocracy is “any form of organization that cuts across normal bureaucratic lines to solve problems, capture opportunities, and get results.”


Adhocracy is characterized as a kind of company management that focuses on self-organization, an adapting attitude, adaptable working circumstances, current-tracking innovation, fluid productivity, and self-determination to address issues and meet objectives.

They projected that workplaces would be built on specialization instead of being based on rigorous, defined, bureaucratic, or inflexible duties.


In 1968, sociologist Philip Slate and organizational strategist Warren Bennis coined the term “adhocracy.”

Warren Bennis first introduced the phrase in his 1968 book “The Temporary Society”; it was subsequently made famous by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book “Future Shock,” and it is now often used in the idea of organizational management. In addition, academics like Henry Mintzberg have explored the idea further.

Characteristics of Adhocracy

  1. High levels of organic structure and low behavior formalization characterize adhocracy.
  2. Job specialization is not always the result of formal education. This informality does not imply a lack of competence in the skill. Adhocracy employees are often appreciated for their abilities rather than their credentials.
  3. There is a propensity to deploy the professionals in small, market-based project teams while grouping them into functional units for administrative convenience.
  4. A dependence on liaison tools to promote cooperation between and among these teams.
  5. It seldom have standard processes that apply to all areas of the business; hence there is little to no standardization of procedures. Each matrix organization or project team has a considerable amount of autonomy.
  6. Specialist teams are the foundation of work organization.
  7. Distributes authority to specialized teams
  8. Horizontal job specialization
  9. Adhocracies provide project teams with authority and the ability to alter direction without going through many levels of bureaucratic approval. This is known as selective decentralization.
  10. They cultivate a culture centered on independent effort.
  11. Adhocracies enable project teams to pivot to new projects quickly and use their judgment when addressing challenges by minimizing the amount of bureaucratic administration.

Adhocracy culture

Adhocracy culture is a sort of organizational culture in which decisions are made spontaneously, and the emphasis is on completing the task currently available. Adhocracy organizational structures have decentralized leadership, swift decision-making, and frequent change based on the moment’s demands.

Less focus may be placed on formal processes, preparation in advance, or hierarchy. Instead, the current project of the team is the main emphasis. Companies with an adhocracy culture value collaboration among employees to identify the best solutions to problems. It is sometimes referred to more generally as a democratic or participatory decision-making framework.

Adhocracy Types

1. Administrative 

It entails displaying an independent working core in a bureaucracy that has been institutionalized.

2. Operational 

These adhocracies are employed to resolve issues on behalf of their customers.

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