This blog post is written hot on the heels of the latest internet buzz surrounding Zappos (sorry pun intended). The buzz is focussed this time on its CEO, Tony Hsieh’s highly publicised and critiqued decision to throw away traditional business management models, at the online shoe retailer and doing something, well something entirely different!
Zappos is in the process of implementing a non-hierarchical management model known as “holacracy”.
Wikipedia describes it as:
"...a social technology or system of organizational governance in which authority and decision-making are distributed throughout a fractal holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested at the top of a hierarchy."
Holacracy isn't a new concept, with the term derived from the term holarchy, coined by Arthur Koestler in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine. But Zappos is one of the first large organisations (circa 1,500 employees) to start to adopt the approach and to already be showing signs of success.
Interestingly, there are also some similarities with the culture and organisational structure of Gore (the designers of Gore-Tex etc.). Within Gore they have implemented what they call a team-based, flat lattice Organisation 'structure', but that’s not the focus of this discussion.
Why do I have an interest in these alternate management and organisational culture models?
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