Season 2 Episode 9 – Hierarchies and Signal Flow

Why do systems fall apart or become dysfunctional?

A system can be a family, relationship, community, business, organization, society. The human mind-brain-body is also a system.

One reason dysfunction can happen is related to hierarchy and ‘signal flow’.

Hierarchies exist throughout nature and throughout human society.
Hierarchies are best able to serve the system when there is efficient signal flow from subsystems to the higher levels and vice versa.

We can see dysfunction happen when the highest levels of a hierarchy are
-not serving the goals of the entire system
-have communication channels dominated by a specific subgroup/subsystem
-are blocking or suppressing efficient communication and signal flow from the subsystems

Optimal functioning of a system requires a state of signal flow where all members or nodes feel ‘understood’.

This experience of being understood is at the core of optimal system functioning within human systems. When we don’t feel understood, it means there is a block of signal flow.

This episode covers the idea of hierarchies and signal flow – and what happens when hierarchies don’t serve the goals of the entire system.

In upcoming articles, I’ll be bringing this concept back down to more personal and interpersonal levels.