I just got back from an onsite visit to help a client work through their SharePoint governance issues, which includes talking about picking the appropriate spot on the governance continuum. This is almost always some form of federation. My definition of federation is “Groups in an organization recognize a central authority’s right to set high-level policy but retain the freedom to make their own decisions within the bounds of that policy.”
I’ve been asked before if federation can exist without a central authority. I realize in some technical domains the word “federation” is used that way, like with P2P federation. But for this domain, federation does imply a central authority.
When talking about federation and governance, my model is federalism, which the U.S. was founded on. Wikipedia calls federalism “is a political philosophy in which a group of members are bound together (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head.” That’s how I seem to remember it from Social Studies class too, although that was a long time ago.
For final proof, please note the definition of perhaps the best known, most advanced federation: The United Federation of Planets. According to the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki: “The United Federation of Planets (abbreviated as UFP and commonly referred to as The Federation) was an interstellar federal republic, composed of planetary governments that agreed to exist semi-autonomously under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality, and to share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation and space exploration.”
BTW – Apparently the UFP had an anthem too. Click here to hear it.
Note: This is a cross-posting from the Collaboration and Content Strategies blog.