Heterarchic organizations are those that can be ranked in multiple ways and are not strictly hierarchical. Internet-enabled social networks often have the properties of heterarchic collaborative exchange, which emerge from peer-to-peer communication systems.
This is discussed in Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks (TIMN) written by David Ronfeldt and funded by the RAND Corporation. In the report, he talks about heterarchical organisms or networked organisms surpassing traditional institutions in the ability to cut through multiple jurisdictions and operate in “small, scattered and autonomous” groups.
This allows heterachies to tackle locally complex issues (like inequality, volunteer work and accessibility) on a global scale through distributing stewardship across contextual teams. They are good at wicked-problems.
One group of problems that are locally complex are described by Kei Kreutler as the “autonomous social sector”, encompassing NGOs, grassroots organizations and other forms of civil society.