A network organization is characterized by the existence of many peer interlinked units which perform in common a complex task, while only a small part of that task corresponds to each unit. The function of each unit is not explicitly predefined as it depends on variable conditions affecting the system. Consequently, a system having network organization may exhibit high adaptability. The efficiency of network organization is based more on the linkage of the units, and the consequent synergistic effects, than on the efficiency of each unit viewed in isolation. A system having network organization may cope with partial failures better than a hierarchically organized one, as failure of some units may be remedied by an appropriate adaptation of the function of the rest units.
Here, as well as in every reference to the terms "network" or "network paradigm", we use the aforementioned specific meaning of the term "network organization". The broader concept of a "network" may also include networks having dissimilar units or links: http://necsi.org/guide/concepts/network.html.