Holocracy: How Zappos could change corporate America

Lizzie O'Leary Jan 2, 2014
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Holocracy: How Zappos could change corporate America

Lizzie O'Leary Jan 2, 2014
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First it was open office space, and now its open management.

The tech world continues to turn traditional office structure on its head with a radical operational system of self-governing with no job titles and no managers. It’s called holocracy and the term derives from the greek word ‘holon,’ which means a whole that’s part of a greater whole.

Nancy Koehn, historian at Harvard Business School, relates the organizational structure to an early tech startup.

“[They] work like little villages, everyone pitches in, everyone is responsible for solving the next problem or putting out the next bonfire,” Koehn says. “There’s very little attention and very little formal structure around things like job titles, the purview of one’s responsibility, or how one’s measuring up.”

Holocracy is not a new concept in the tech world. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams uses the system to run his 50-employee publishing platform Medium. But this doesn’t end the role of bosses entirely, especially when it comes to pay.

According to Koehn, CEO’s are going to have to “give up some of the gold and some of the scepter.”

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