Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: John Eldred, Ph.D.


My participation in the Organization Dynamics program has been quite the odyssey, as has my work career at the University of Pennsylvania. Since I was working full time at the School of Dental Medicine, it took me many years to complete the program. My Capstone theme is an explanation of the hierarchical management structures that I have worked within and an exploration of the potential of non-hierarchical systems.

Most of the world, and the people working in it, are very familiar with hierarchical management systems. I will explore a few instances of the emergence of non-hierarchical management organizations in this paper, comparing my career experience to the organization models that I investigated As my participation in non-hierarchical management systems is limited and, I want to discern the differences between what I have experienced and what I could have realized if non-hierarchical structures were used as the structure for business organizations. Is it possible for non-hierarchical management systems to become the more dominant form of organizational structure in the modern workforce?

My methodologies for the exploration are a literature review of management systems contrasting the differences between hierarchical and non-hierarchical organization structures. Another important component is an analysis and reflection of my own career experience, comparing what I learned in the literature review to what I have experienced in real life. I will additionally report findings in a non-hierarchical organization in which I participated recently. My final method is the analysis of a survey I conducted to determine if non-hierarchical organizing is being utilized.

In summary, my findings show that hierarchical management structures are the de-facto standard in business and organizations today, and we are a long way from changing to non-hierarchical modes. However, some methodologies and processes that I have explored will become more prevalent going forward.


hierarchical management, non-hierarchical management



Date Posted: 28 January 2022