Neologism Watch: Adhocracy

In a fascinating analysis of the release of the Afghanistan war logs, George Mason policy wonk Janine Wedel and journalist Linda Keenan argue that when traditional institutions break down, a new breed of power broker -- exemplified by WikiLeaks -- takes over.

"WikiLeaks has upended the old-fashioned venues of investigative journalism and watchdog organizations," they argue at the Huffington Post. "While it is surely good that WikiLeaks has emerged as a counterweight -- a tool for making the powerful squirm -- WikiLeaks has enormous power itself, the kind of unaccountable power that its founder decries."

Digital technologies enable the players to act effectively without centralization or bureaucracy, which makes them unresponsive to "traditional means of accountability." This is the dark side of WikiLeaks acting as the first "stateless news organization."

"Bureaucracy gets pushed aside by so-called "adhocracy," executive power/one-man shows flourish, with institutional checks and balances flouted," they write (emphasis added). "These are some of the signature developments of the shadow elite era, and WikiLeaks is clearly a creature of that era.

Presented by

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Video

What Fifty Shades Left Out

A straightforward guide to BDSM

More in Technology

Just In