Somehow, society has sleep-walked from the industrial to the digital age believing that hierarchy is the only way to run companies. Today, it becomes more and more visible that more Self-management is a real alternative, that produces marvelous levels of engagement, creativity, and entrepreneurial resilience.
However, most people new to self-management mistakenly believe that the decision between hierarchy and self-management is an either-or decision – and consequently shy away from making a radical decision. Either you have managers and subordinates or you have a bunch of co-equal coworkers, right?
At Liberated Companies, we believe that it is possible to combine hierarchy and self-management. There is overwhelming evidence for this: Most progressive companies are not strictly self-managed. Instead, they apply hybrid organizations, using work designs that stem from the hierarchical and the self-managed paradigm of organizations.
Progressive organizational design is not about primarily about exorcizing hierarchy. It is rather about setting companies on a journey towards better work designs. There is no end state, no best organizational design. Only designs that evolve and work increasingly better over time.
Combining the Hierarchy and Self-Organization is impossible – until we realize it is not about realizing any “end state” organizational structure: it is about the journey. Read more about this in Part II of the book.