Taxonomies Provide Structure

Published by Lex on

Taxonomies and structure

Taxonomies are rabbit holes that do not necessarily lead to greater clarity. Taxonomies provide structure. But the structure oversimplifies reality.

Taxonomies provide an organizational hierarchy. The hierarchy is valid except that it is slightly random and continually evolving.

A lot of time and effort is needed for robust hierarchies. Committees form to determine the definition and rules.

Yet, multiple hierarchies exist at the same time and are often contradictory. This is perplexing to many people, especially those that see validity in both of the contradictory hierarchies.

However, the natural world is not hierarchical. The natural world is not digital either. Imposing structure from the outside rarely works without using lots of brute force (physical or mental).

Bureaucracy enforces artificial hierarchy. The organizational benefits of bureaucracy are substantial. The hierarchies and rules help us function, but they are sometimes a hindrance to making things happen.

So you have a choice:

  • Work within the constraints; or
  • ignore rules of the hierarchy and introduce chaos and possibly innovation.

The taxonomies and hierarchies are how we make order out of things that are by their nature chaotic. Taxonomies provide structure for an organization. The more fluid the taxonomy, the harder it is to build structure.


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