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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”?
Lord Acton, in an 1887 letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, famously stated that: “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It turns out that Acton’s observation was truer than he could possibly have known at the time.
I came across this interesting column today called "12 Things We'd Tell Our Bosses". The writer apparently did some sort of survey of things that folks would like tell their bosses--but that they are generally hesitant (or afraid) to say. That raises some red flags: an organization has to be suffering if there are things that need to be said, but that aren't being said because folks are afraid of the repercussions.