Self-organization is a type of pattern formation, a means through which some form of order or coordination is developed. There are essentially just two basic methods through which social coordination and order can occur. Within linear systems, it may be imposed in a top-down fashion from some centralized global authority or within nonlinear systems, it may emerge from the interaction of the agents on the local level in a bottom-up fashion and this is social self-organization. As such self-organization is a nonlinear process of pattern formation.
Within a linear system where there is a low level of connectivity and relatively few components interacting in a well-defined linear fashion, it is possible to control and coordinate that system through some centralized regulatory mechanism. We can use this centralized governance mechanism to impose or maintain order within the system, that is to say by influencing or controlling the agent’s choices towards a coordinated outcome we can get some state of order within the system.