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Say “Self-Management” and almost everyone gets the wrong idea.
Self-managing structures are appearing everywhere, and get increasing attention in the media. They seem to be much more adaptative, agile, motivating than traditional pyramidal organizations, and they appear to achieve spectacular results. But is this a simple fad, or a new phenomenon destined to spread? And why are most people dismissive when you mention the possibility to run organizations “without a boss”?
Call it what you will--Self-Management, Holarchy, ROWE--but we are definitely seeing a rise in the number of workplaces that are ditching traditional management. Pam Ross's January article with the Huffington Post introduces several companies that are experimenting with how to best organize work.
SMI recently traveled to the Carmel home of Dr. Peter Koestenbaum, co-author with Peter Block of Freedom and Accountability at Work. Dr. Koestenbaum is the founder and chairman of PIB.Net, (for Philosophy in Business), and the Koestenbaum Institute, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2000, he asked the hard questions in the influential Fast Company article Do You Have the Will to Lead?
Video of Paul Green Jr's talk at Voice & Exit. Paul Green, Jr. explores the basics of "Self-Management," a philosophy that has made his company the leader in its space. Green's company has no managers, no bosses and colleagues are free to pursue diverse paths to realize the company's mission.
Chris Rufer, the founder of The Morning Star Company, gives a brief definition of Self-Management (as contrasted with more traditional "other" management) at our 2010 Symposium.