The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom offers some interesting and relevant case studies of how decentralized organizations have come to dominate certain industries.
I am posting this summary with the hopes that it will get you interested enough to read it.
I remembered this recommendation of yours, so I read the book last month. I was amused (and interested) at how it started with an exploration of what happened to Napster, later tying in organizations like Al Qaeda and EBay.
For me, the most revelatory insights in the book are how both types of organizations react to external threats and how hybrids are uniquely able to weather such storms. Looking back at some of our recent conflicts, the authors definitely seem to be onto something, and their arguments are given even more weight (at least for me) due to their focus on civilian organizations over military or political ones.
It’s certainly food for thought, and I think the next meal should be a discussion on what our own organization can take away from this. I don’t think the value is just in the insight into organizational behavior, though that certainly is a critical observation. Rather, the value may prove to be in the discussion of how to decentralize our own organization, seeking some hybrid characteristics as a source of strength and survivability.