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This section covers both 1) the organizational microscale formats or methods used to govern peer production, FLOSS, and other non-coercive methods of governance; 2) the evolution on a macro-scale towards the dominance of collaborative networks

This section is maintained by Michel Bauwens and George Dafermos

(this area is under construction: the Encyclopedia items related to governance have been ported until but not including M)

You may want to read this important discussion document by Erik Douglas, Peer to Peer and the Four Pillars of Democracy, which examines the relationship between peer governance and representative democracy.


Please read the following excerpts of David Ronfeldt on the Evolution of Governance

Henry Mintzberg's Taxonomy of Organizational Forms, is good as backgrounder.


The entries in the directory below covers different aspects which should be distinguished from each other:

1. the forms of peer governance of open/free communities and peer production groups

See A Model of a Mature Open Source Project for a case study of the Plone community.

1.A - informal leadership models that are pragmatically used to govern such projects: what is the nature of leadership and hierarchy in peer production?

1.B. the use of formal management models

Chaordic Organizations - Characteristics , Consensus , Consent vs. Consensus , Coordination Format , Council Ceremony , Harmonization Governance , Heterarchy , Holacracy , Horizontal Accountablity , Leaderless Organizations , Open Organization , Sociocracy

1.C the use of legal formats such as Foundations to formalize leadership

Burning Man - Governance , Free Software Foundation , FLOSS - Governance , FLOSS Foundations , GNOME Foundation , Mozilla Foundation

2. the methods of production used in peer production: how is the work actually done?

2.A. the tools used in the production process (ie. Bitkeeper, CVS, etc.)

2.B the design of interactions at the level of the product/technological architecture (modularity, encapsulation, information hiding)

3. the forms of governance/ownership/income distribution for the derived and monetizable service and market-oriented production models that derive from commons-related projects

3.A. Modes of capital organization

Capital Commons Trusts , Cooperatives , Limited Liability Partnership , Mutual Home Ownership , Open Organization

3.B. Modes of property organization

General Public License , Creative Commons

3.C Modes of revenue sharing with commercial partners

(includes netarchical and vectoralist partners)

4. political governance models for the whole of society that are inspired by peer to peer models or principles

Citizen Dialogue and Deliberation , Commons , Community Assets , Coordination Format , Council Ceremony , Delegative Democracy , Deliberative Democracy , Deliberative Development , Democracy 2.1 , Disaggregated Democracy , Extreme Democracy , Gaian Democracies , Global Microstructures , Global Villages , Glocalized Networks , Inclusive Democracy , Megacommunities , Participatory Democracy Networks

5. Political philosophies and governance proposals inspired by peer to peer (egalitarian) ideals.

Resources at the P2P Foundation


Check out the Archive of the P2P Foundation blog on P2P Hierarchy Theory, for a full record on our articles.

Here's a selection:

Dave Ellerman's Helping Theory

Riane Eisler's Partnership Society

Rank thinking vs. peer thinking

Edelman: Trusting peers more than institutions


  • P2P Governance [1]
  • P2P Politics [2]
  • P2P Political Theory [3]
  • P2P Commons [4]
  • Alterglobalization Movement [5]
  • Internet Governance [6]
  • Cooperatives [7]
  • P2P Hierarchy Theory [8]


Other Resources


Read his summary: A Spectrum of Politics and Governance Grounded in Empowered Citizen Dialogue and Deliberation, [9]

There is an extraordinary collection of concrete research on the governance of peer production communities (Debian, Apache), accessible from here [10], which leads to two seminar pages here [11] and here [12]. If you know French, this is highly recommended.

The Observatory of Public Debates [13] has an observatory for free software that can be used for internet-based public debate processes [14]


The P2P Governance Encyclopedia


This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.


Pages in category "Governance"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 1,596 total.

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