Chapter 8

Our objective in this chapter is to set the scene for living together, that is to say the production framework. For that, let's start by specifying that production takes place in companies. So let's define what we mean by a company: a certain number of people associated in order to fulfill a mission of collective utility formulated in the raison d'être of this company. As we will see later, our notion of business can cover what we currently call a commercial enterprise, what we call an administration, or what we call an association under the French law of 1901. By the end of this book, we will have understood that this notion of organization can even replace our notions of government and assemblies. Therefore, in the following, we have chosen to abandon the word "company" too close to the current "commercial company" in favor of the word "organization".

The presentation of the structure of the organizations will be completed in chapter 12 concerning the concepts of horizontal or vertical integration, and therefore of subcontracting.

Presentation of organizations

We are trying to architect production in the form of village organizations, that is to say large enough so that no one is essential to its proper functioning, and small enough so that everyone knows each other and can take account of the particularities of each individual.
In terms of number of staff, a study recommends the number of 150, called the Dunbar number (1). Let us simply retain here the objective of a hundred, until it can be refined by feedback. The idea to remember right now is that any significantly larger or significantly smaller number must be motivated.

The objective of the village organization is largely to contain the key element of human nature, namely the social ambition, the effects of which have been described in chapter 2 concerning Parkinson's law. Ideally, we would have an organization with only two hierarchical levels. In practice, there is no absolute rule at this level, but we will see below how the new formalism aims to limit the "mailbox" effect, that is to say limit the number of people who, when they receive a request, simply transmit it, and are content with supervising the process, instead of dealing with the subject themselves. In practice, this implies on the one hand favoring short circuits at the process level, and on the other hand limiting the additional functions whose development is denounced in the article by Meyer and Rowan.
Another important social effect of village organizations is that it makes it easy to integrate people with physical or mental deficiencies. Indeed, in a village organization, on the one hand everyone knows each other, which makes it possible to easily take into account the specificities of each individual, and on the other hand the financing system, which we will expose in chapter 17, allows the expected productivity to be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, we now come to the concrete presentation of the new formalism imposed on organizations. An organization must keep up to date three official documents, which are its accounting, its problems log, and its strategic thinking log.
For accounting, nothing changed from what is done today, so we will not go into details.
The functioning of the problems log will be described in Chapter 9. In a few words, it identifies all the small unforeseen events that day by day hamper the optimal functioning of the organization, as well as their analysis, the envisaged improvements and their implementation. An example of an entry in this journal could be "This morning, there was no more ink in the printer for printing the invoices".
Finally, the strategic thinking log will be described in Chapter 10. It lists the deep reflections carried out by the organization concerning its positioning, its way of operating, and the monitoring of the implementation of the conclusions. It is the most direct manifestation of the decision, taken in Chapter 7, to frame the decision-making process to make it rational, that is to say to remove the hegemony of action on reflection.

At the hierarchy level, an organization has only three specific roles that make up the board.
First of all, the president is responsible for allocating resources for strategic thinking. But beware, it is not the decision maker in fine as we find at the level of associations or at the head of the French Vᵉ République. Indeed, it cannot arbitrate decisions or intervene at the level of implementation. He is simply responsible for the quality of strategic thinking.
The director, then, is responsible for implementing the conclusions of the strategic thinking, as well as the problems log. All we ask of it is to organize the treatment of the problems, not to play the 'mouche du coche' wanting to control everything, including what works well. Thus, we can criticize him for the abuse of power if he decides on the organization for something other than responding to a specific problem reported in the problems log, or for advancing the implementation of the conclusions of a strategic thinking. In other words, the director is responsible for day-to-day operational efficiency, in particular for the management of contingencies, but not for the organizational choices that are made over the long term and which fall under strategic thinking.
Finally, the treasurer manages the accounts, the financing from the banks, and the allocation of resources (salaries, strategic thinking, etc.). He is therefore responsible for the proper use of resources.
There is no formal hierarchical function other than these three, which allows organizations to function ideally with a single level of supervision. In this sense, the organizations are approaching associations law of 1901, except that the role of the president is purely strategic, and that the daily life is exclusively managed by the equivalent of the secretary who thus approaches the concept of secretary general.

The board is elected from among the people of the organization who are still eligible and candidates. It is a vote where each person scores all the candidates. The scores assigned by each voter are weighted by a function of the strategic rating of the voter. Then, the score obtained by each candidate is the average of their weighted scores after removing the lowest third and the highest third (2). The elected candidate is the one who received the highest score.
In the social organization proposed in this book, the election of the board is the only recourse to the ballot. The reason for such a rare use of the concept of election is mistrust in this mode of allocation of functions, explained in the paragraph "The illusion of election" in Chapter 7. On the other hand, the methods proposed for the ballot take into account mathematical studies aimed at optimizing elective functioning, while traditional ballots operate on archaic rules. In particular, the most basic bias of current ballots is to ask the voter to choose, rather than asking him to rate each candidate. In doing so, the voter does not say anything about all the candidates except one, which ultimately multiplies the number of configurations in which the elected candidate strongly displeases a large part of the electoral body, thus exacerbating future social conflicts.
The fact of resorting to an election to constitute the board also aims not to completely ignore the fact that, currently, one of the two pillars of the decision system is to have the decision taken by an individual with the support of the most powerfull social group. This is to bear in mind the limits of the decision system that we developed in Chapter 7, namely that, for certain decisions, current knowledge does not allow a choice to be made on a completely rational and objective basis. In fact, a notion of election aims to secure these difficult cases.
For the other current pillar of the decision-making process, which is the statutory competence of the decision maker, we preferred to simply weight the weight of each vote by a function linked to the strategic rating of the voter. We have not formulated the details of this function, because until we bring the strategic rating system to life, we do not have the capacity to go down to this level of detail. On the other hand, the fact of specifying a weighting now means that we choose to translate the objective capacity of an individual to conduct a study methodically, reflected by its strategic rating, in an capacity to choose with discernment the people to whom to entrust management. This seemed to us more relevant than the simple recourse to the status, diploma or mandate, currently used very widely as the sole justification.

It seems useful to reiterate at this stage that the mission of the members of the board is not to direct, that is to say to make the decisions that will determine the future of the organization. Each board function simply consists of satisfying one of the three methodological constraints imposed on it.
In particular, in the general case, the president does not carry out the strategic thinking himself, therefore does not take the resulting structuring decisions. The President is content to ensure that the process of studying strategic questions is properly carried out. In this sense, the change of president does not represent for an organization such as we envisage a change as important as for a current company or association. Likewise, it is not the president's responsibility to be visionary.
The director may have a more ad hoc role since the handling of common problems can lead him to make quick decisions. But precisely, this can only be exceptional. If a problem becomes recurrent, then it must be studied within the framework of a strategic thinking, and the director will then be responsible only for the implementation of the conclusions of the study.
In the end, being elected a member of the board does not give power, but just responsibility for the proper functioning of one of the three basic functions of the organization. It is now easier to understand that the operating model of the organizations chosen effectively meets the objective expressed at the start of this chapter of limiting social ambition. Today, what is seen as socially advanced is often collective decision-making, through voting. However, if the vote makes it possible to avoid the tyranny of the chief, it does not effectively reduce the game of alliances, that is to say the tendency to generalized nepotism, and the stress which results from it.
Thus, the approach that we have adopted from a formalism to ensure the rationality of decisions is a major advance compared to that of the election which simply ensures the support of the decision by the most powerful social group. This advance becomes all the greater as technological progress makes the organization of production more complex, and therefore the strategic decisions more complex to properly measure all of the consequences, for example ecological. In this sense, the organization proposed here is a direct response to the in-depth analysis of the decision process that we have just carried out in Chapter 4.

If finally, we draw a parallel with Dumézil's tripartition, we find that we have taken over the three functions, but instead of distributing the staff in the traditional form of a small number for the priestly function, a small number for the martial function, and the majority for the production function, we opted for one person exactly for each function, and all the others undifferentiated. This is consistent with the fact that the three people in the board, who respectively represent the three functions, are no longer responsible for the exercise of the function, but simply guarantee that the function is performed satisfactorily in the organization. It is by this switch that we can hope to get out of the function seen as a source, therefore stake, of power. Leaving function as a source of power is linked to the barrier which is put against holding inept reasoning seen in chapter 4, of which one of the two justifications is the status. However, from the moment when the function is no longer a convenient source of power to use, it ceases to become an issue of power.
In other words, with this definition of the board, we sought to offer something that is not too foreign to our culture, while making an important modification, namely to be guarantor instead of exercising the function, to take into account the difficulties related to human nature that we identified in chapters 2 and 3.

Finding the optimal size of organizations

The recommended size for organizations is a compromise between different contradictory constraints.

The smaller the organizations, the more the production of a good or service will tend to involve many companies. However, it is much more difficult to optimize an operation involving several companies than to optimize an operation involving only one. In other words, the more we reduce the size of organizations, the more we exacerbate the problems of interfaces between the different actors.

In addition, the smaller an organization, the more modest the resources it can allocate for strategic thinking, therefore the less it is able to rationally deal with complex issues.

Conversely, the larger the organizations, the more difficult it becomes to limit the multiplication of hierarchical levels, i.e. to combat the effect of the Parkinson's law mentioned in Chapter 2, namely the proliferation of non-productive functions.
For the same reasons, it becomes more difficult to contain social ambition, and therefore the struggle for power.
By side effect, it becomes more difficult to avoid strategic thinking be biased according to particular interests.

In addition, the larger an organization, the greater its hold on the territory, so that it becomes locally essential, therefore uncontrollable, which increases the risk that it will no longer work for the benefit of all.

This explains our starting position of a hundred people as the perceived maximum that we can reach without the creation of multiple hierarchical levels to becoming inevitable, because people no longer know each other. However, this position remains fuzzy, since it is likely that with a hundred of people, different teams are already inevitably formed, resulting in a hierarchical level of team leader. However, reducing the size recommended for organizations to the natural size of a team which is probably more something like a dozen people seemed too restrictive in terms of the means available for strategic thinking. This will become clearer on reading Chapter 11 concerning operational control. In other words, rather than seeking to avoid at all costs the possible appearance of a hierarchical level of team leader, we favored a strict formalism at the level of strategic studies to guarantee the methodological quality, which we will detail in the following chapters, and for which a hundred people seemed intuitively more realistic to us. In addition, in the context of an organization of ten people, it would probably be quite difficult to obtain that the functions of president and director are not exercised by one and the same person who would then become a statutory chief, which would tend to put down all the efforts we are making to bring out an explicit and rigorous reasoning at the level of strategic thinking leading to decisions. This recommended number, initially set at around one hundred, will therefore be refined following feedback from practical implementation.

At this point, it seems interesting to us to return for a moment to the issue of Marx mentioned in Chapter 1 of making the benefit of technological progress available to all of us.
Technological progress requires an increase in the size of organizations, to take account of the increase in complexity. However, this increase is not without consequences, and must therefore be limited. This is a track that Marx did not seem to have explored in The Capital in terms of his proposals for regulating capitalism by law.


Researchers have apparently established in primates a correlation between the size of the neocortex and that of the social group in which they evolve. The number 150 was then deduced from the size of the human neocortex.
See Theory of mind ans the evolution of language, by Robin Dubar.

A more sophisticated alternative consists in sorting the weighted notes, distributing them over the segment [0,1], then weighting them a second time by the function sin² (πx). As before, this amounts to adding a zero weighting to the extreme notes, a one weighting to the middle note, but also to continuously varying the weighting for the intermediate notes instead of going suddenly from zero to one at the level of 1/3 of the population size, then suddenly return to zero at 2/3 level.