Can reducing hierarchy improve results?
Flat management techniques, spurred by the growth of technology companies, are becoming more popular, but it's an approach that can offer advantages to other types and sizes of businesses, too. Although it isn't applicable to all situations, flat management will likely keep gaining ground as the economy continues to evolve and businesses are forced to adapt. The increasing use of technology and social media, coupled with the need for businesses to make quick decisions to remain competitive, ensures flat structures will remain a viable option. Some companies take a dual approach by implementing a flat structure for certain elements of the business while maintaining a more traditional management hierarchy overall.
Murray, Alan, “The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management: Lasting Lessons from the Best Leadership Minds of Our Time,” HarperBusiness, 2010. Management guide by a Wall Street Journal managing editor provides business strategies for being a successful manager and historical context on current management techniques.
Pontefract, Dan, “Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization,” Wiley, 2013. A Canadian telecommunications executive and business speaker offers a guide for creating a culture of collaboration, engagement and employee empowerment by replacing command-and-control management techniques with collaborative methods.
Tapscott, Don, “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” Portfolio Trade, 2010. A business consultant explains that the use of collaborative processes by employees is spreading to traditional companies.
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Finley, Klint, “Why Workers Can Suffer in Bossless Companies Like GitHub,” Wired, March 20, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
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Reports and Studies
Courtright, Stephen, G.L. Stewart and M.R. Barrick “Peer-Based Control in Self-Managing Teams: Linking Rational and Normative Influence With Individual and Group Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology, March 2012, http://tinyurl.com/
Friesen, Justin P., Aaron C. Kay, Richard P. Eibach and Adam D. Galinsky “Seeking structure in social organization: Compensatory control and the psychological advantages of hierarchy,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Ronay, Richard, Katharine Greenaway, Eric M. Anicich and Adam D. Galinsky “The Path to Glory Is Paved With Hierarchy: When Hierarchical Differentiation Increases Group Effectiveness,” Psychological Science, June 2012, http://tinyurl.com/
Seibert, S.E., G. Wang and S.H. Courtright “Antecedents and consequences of psychological and team empowerment in organizations: a meta-analytic review,” Journal of Applied Psychology, September 2011, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Hu, Elise, “Inside The ‘Bossless’ Office, Where The Team Takes Charge,” National Public Radio, Aug. 26, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Vasagar, Jeevan, “Experiment with a bit of anarchy,” The Financial Times, Jan. 28, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Boss, Jeff, “Why Hierarchy Is Outdated: The (Long Overdue) Need For Organizational Adaptability,” Forbes, June 6, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
McCauley, James, “Quality Over Quantity: A New PLA Modernization Methodology?” The Jamestown Foundation, July 17, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
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Brown, Jonathan, “Workers' co-operatives: One for all, all for one,” The Independent (U.K.), Jan. 9, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Long, Yun, “Reno's Saint Mary's hospital in the black one year after turning for-profit,” Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal, June 30, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Sangani, Priyanka, “Harvard legend John Kotter advocates ‘dual operating system’ for winning in a turbulent world,” The Economic Times (India), May 16, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Groth, Aimee, “Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy,” Quartz, Dec. 30, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Hutson, Matthew, “Espousing Equality, but Embracing a Hierarchy,” The New York Times, June 21, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Jargon, Julie, “McDonald's Plans to Change U.S. Structure,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 30, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
For More Information
1741 Hilltop Rd., Suite 200, Spring City, PA 19475
The company that developed the management theory of holacracy.
Morning Star Self-Management Institute
500 Capitol Mall, Suite 2050, Sacramento, CA 95816
Research and education company that advocates a management model based on the principles developed at the Morning Star Co.
316 E. Court St., Iowa City, IA 52240
A company that advocates the management theory of organizational democracy.