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Holacracy – A Radical Approach to Organizational Design



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Pepijn van de Kamp
2.1 Introduction
HolacracyTM 1is a governance framework for organizations which radically replaces
some of the practices we have used to craft our organizations in the past century: (1)
the top-down hierarchy and (2) the need for management. It promises a lean and
adaptable organization, highly effective, distributed authority and purpose driven
work. So far only small and medium-sized, mostly technology-related companies
adopted the framework. In December 2013 the billion dollar retailer Zappos an-
nounced a planned transition to Holacracy in 2014. Since then, the interest in Ho-
lacracy has increased exponentially (see Figure 2.1). Business and management crit-
1Holacracy is a registered trademark of Holacracy One, L.L.C. of Spring City, PA, USA.
ics started to share their opinions. Rumor has it that Holacracy will become the new
management trend of 2014.
Figure 2.1: Google Trends: Interest over time (%) of search term Holacracy2. Num-
bers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart.
The software engineering field is still under the spell of the Agile revolution. More
and more companies start to adopt agile practices in their software development de-
partments. Holacracy provides a framework to bring agility to the organizational
level and is therefore likely to complement better with the agile practices at the soft-
ware development level than the traditional organizational designs. It is therefore
relevant to provide an overview of what Holacracy is all about and what we can learn
from this practice to make our companies more agile and able to benefit more from
the ever changing organizational environment.
This chapter attempts to take a step back in the midst of the battle of opinions and
investigate the following questions:
What is Holacracy?
When could it work?
What can we learn from Holacracy in managing our businesses?
To answer these questions, first some background information is provided on how
Holacracy emerged to what it is now. Second, a brief overview of Holacracy is
provided. Third, the existing theories that Holacracy incorporated and refined are
Finally we reason about what we can learn from Holacracy from the following per-
What we know at this point from theory.
2Source: [Accessed March 16,
How Holacracy would complement software development methods like Scrum
and RUP.
The experience of a practitioner with two years of experience in Holacracy.
My personal humble organizational experience.
2.2 Background – In Search of Agility
Top-down hierarchies have been used as the organizational structure by many compa-
nies in the past century. But the way we cooperate with each other in our businesses
has changed a lot since the start of the information and telecommunication revolu-
tion. Our devices make sure information and communication reaches us as soon as
possible. Never before did our actions result in such rapid feedback.
Software engineering was one of the first crafts where it was noticed that the plan-
driven approach we were so used to did not always deliver sound results. Either the
world was changing too fast, we delivered too late or we did not learn enough from
what was happening around us. To keep up with society’s pace, a new approach
came to light in February 2001, Snowbird, Utah: 17 software craftsmen with dif-
ferent backgrounds joined forces to compose a set of new principles published in
the Manifesto of Agile Software Development [1]. Instead of following a plan and
delivering software at the end of a project, with Agile, software is delivered in small
iterations, allowing to respond more quickly to changes in the environment. Al-
though it is arguable whether Agile software development suits all kinds of project
environments, it has become a practice that can no longer be ignored.
Other markets followed the Agile movement with great interest as it produced its first
results. How could other practices and processes benefit from Agile’s ideas? Which
fruits could be reaped from this practice? As the world around us changes, it makes
sense to find ways to be as aware as possible of what is going on in order to be able
to act and benefit.
It was not long after the introduction of the Agile Manifesto that Brian Robertson
started a new software company (Ternary Software) and decided to not turn to the
usual solutions of organizational design. Through years of trial and error, an orga-
nizational design aimed to enhance organizational agility emerged to what we now
know as Holacracy [9].
Small and medium sized organizations, mostly technology related, started to pick up
the practice. But it was not until December 2013 that Holacracy really caught the at-
tention of the media. Zappos, an online shoe and fashion retailer with 1,500 employ-
ees, announces that its aim for 2014 will be to implement the practice throughout the
whole company, and thus be the first large sized company to break with traditional
organizational designs and follow Holacracy. Until now, from a scientific perspec-
tive, little is known about Holacracy, except that it has borrowed and refined practices
from existing theories. Empirical evidence is still scarce, and besides that, very hard
to gather. So all we can do for now is investigate what is known at this point in
time on Holacracy and reason on when it will work and what we can learn from it
in managing our own organizations. Hopefully we can tell more on how Holacracy
worked for Zappos by the end of 2014.
2.3 A Brief Introduction to Holacracy
In order to have a basic understanding of what Holacracy is, we will summarize it
briefly. For a better understanding we encourage the reader to read the official mate-
rial on the website of Holacracy [5] or the official paper by Robertson [9].
What is Holacracy?
The official Holacracy website3defines Holacracy as: a real-world-tested social
technology for agile and purposeful organization. It radically changes how an orga-
nization is structured, how decisions are made, and how power is distributed [5].
What Does it Promise?
Holacracy promises the following results [5]:
1. Lean and adaptable organization
2. Highly effective meetings
3. Clearly distributed authority
4. Purpose-driven work
How Does it Work?
Organic Structure vs. Artificial Hierarchy
In Holacracy the organizational structure consists of a holarchy of self-organizing
teams, called ‘circles’. This holarchy of circles emerges in the process and evolves
over time. Hereby Holacracy aspires to result in a natural hierarchy focused on work
instead of individuals [9] (See also Figures 2.2 and 2.3)
Figure 2.2: From hierarchy to holarchy [9]
Roles Instead of Job Titles
One of the most notable differences between a traditional organizational governance
and governance with Holacracy is the fact that individuals do not carry job titles any-
more, hence there are no management titles either. Holacracy states that job titles are
often status-related and are often vaguely related to the work the individual is actu-
ally doing on a daily basis. With Holacracy, roles are defined with a clear purpose
only at the point where they contribute to the organizational purpose and the aim of
the circle. When a role does not contribute any more it is withdrawn. Individuals
can energize multiple roles. Roles serve a specific purpose and include real respon-
sibility and authority. “Everyone becomes a leader of their roles and a follower of
others” [5]. Note that Holacracy does not prescribe a set of roles in a way that a
method like Scrum does, the roles will emerge over time from the work to be done.
By removing job titles and defining roles when they are needed, Holacracy aspires
to make the work to be done more explicit. By giving roles authorities and responsi-
bilities, decision-making is distributed throughout the organization [8].
By distributing leadership throughout the organization, Holacracy aspires to be more
of an open system where its employees are more in touch with the changing environ-
ment. By energizing their roles, individuals sense opportunities, called ‘tensions’, to
improve the organization to align better with its purpose. Holacracy divides tensions
in two categories: tensions on operations (the processing of the work) and tensions
on governance (structure of the organization) [9, 5] (See also Figure 2.4)
Figure 2.3: Example of a general company circle with sub-circles[5]
To facilitate the effective execution of tensions of operations, the members of a circle
have various meetings with different scope and at different intervals, from daily to
yearly. Circle members also meet regularly to evolve the governance process of
the circle to uncover the roles needed to reach the circle’s aim. The various circles
synchronize their information by applying the concept of double linking: In each
circle meeting one elected member from the super circle (‘lead link’) and one elected
member from every sub-circle (‘rep link’) attends the meeting to ensure the circles
decisions align with the needs of the super circle and the perspectives of the sub-
circles. Decisions are made based on consent (instead of consensus) and should
lead to actions that allow rapid feedback rather than a thorough cause analysis. This
concept of rapid decision-making based on real data to enable rapid feedback is
called Dynamic Steering in Holacracy, and will be explained more later on in this
chapter [9].
Although there is a lot more to Holacracy then we summarized here, the above de-
scription gives a basic overview of how Holacracy works.
Figure 2.4: The Holacracy process (Source: http://www.
2.4 How does Holacracy Relate to Existing Theories?
To form an opinion on when Holacracy could or could not work, the most prominent
theories that have been incorporated and further refined in Holacracy are investi-
gated. For each theory is briefly described how its philosophies or practices are
embedded in Holacracy’s governance process, drawn from scientific work as well as
the official material from the Holacracy website.
The Agile movement emerged in a response to break with the traditional up-front
plan-driven software development approach called waterfall. Where the waterfall
method is a highly predictive approach, the Agile methods aspire to be highly adap-
tive and are therefore able to respond to changes in the environment [1]. Robert-
son states that today’s complex organizations can be compared to complex software
systems and have the same need to be able to adapt to an ever changing environ-
ment [8].
Agile software development tries to achieve control by embracing change and adapt-
ing continually instead of relying on up-front predictive analysis. At the organi-
zational level this concept can be compared with the concept of dynamic steering
in Holacracy, where the decision-making process focusses on rapid feedback from
reality [9].
Integral Theory (Ken Wilber)
Holacracy has incorporated concepts of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory [9, 3, 4, 2].
First of all, the name Holacracy refers to the concept of a holon. Fuhs [4] defines
the concept of a holon as an entity that is simultaneously a whole and also part of
a larger whole. In Holacracy, the circles are the holons, and a hierarchy of holons
is called a holarchy. Holacracy, taken literally, means governance by the organiza-
tional holarchy, the organizational entity itself. Robertson states in [9] that Holacracy
aspires to facilitate the emergence of a natural consciousness for the organization it-
self: “This organizational ‘will’ feels clearly different from the will of the people
associated with the organization – just as the organization persists even as individ-
uals come and go, so too does this consciousness. This concept contradicts with
the traditional concept where some members of the organization dominate the will
of the organization [9]. Cardoso and Ferrer report that from an integral perspec-
tive, Holacracy substitutes the artificial pressure exerted by leadership by distributing
healthy tensions throughout the organization, which allows for constant learning and
innovation [2].
Sociocracy (Gerard Endenburg)
Sociocracy is a governance structure developed by Gerard Endenburg. According to
Endenburg (and also according to Senge [6]), the traditional top-down structure of
organizations limits the learning ability of the organization. The structure of Socioc-
racy is based on a hierarchy of circles. A circle is a policy-making unit of a group of
people with a common work objective [6]. Holacracy has incorporated and refined
practices of Sociocracy regarding circles and circle meetings [9, 8, 6]:
Concept of a hierarchy of self-organizing teams in circles.
Effective meetings where decisions are made based on consent.
Elections by consent.
Circle meetings maintain the quality of its resources by means of integral edu-
Synchronization of circles through double-linking.
In consent-based decision-making decisions are made when nobody has a reasoned
objection against the proposed decision. This requires to integrate all perspectives
into the decision-making process [8]. In consensus-based decision-making every-
body has to be in favor of the decision, which could lead to individuals getting
emotionally involved, arguing about which decision is best. The goal of consent-
based decision-making is not to find the best decision, but to make small working
decisions rapidly and let the best decision emerge over time [9]. Robertson notes
that consent-based decision-making is a critical rule in order to be able to embrace
Holacracy’s concept of dynamic steering, because small and rapid decisions enable
rapid feedback.
Requisite Control Structure (Elliott Jacques)
In contrast with Endenburg, Jaques defends hierarchy as a natural and efficient form
of social organization, but states that a poor organizational structure can prevent em-
ployees from working at their full potential. Hierarchies that do reflect the complex-
ity of problem solving can release energy, improved morale and creativity [6]. In a
Requisite Organization, the revision of the system itself should be the focus of orga-
nizational development activities [2]. According to Robertson [9], Holacracy allows
the requisite structure to emerge over time. Through dynamic steering on governance
tensions, the quality of the structure of the organization can be continually improved
as more can be learned from experience.
Fuhs theorizes in [4] that although there is no evidence of the effect, the way Ho-
lacracy embeds the requisite control structure in its framework could result in a bal-
ance of structure and agency unrealized by other organization design forms.
2.5 Does Holacracy Work?
In order to be able to reason about whether or not Holacracy could work for your
business, the practice is discussed here from the perspective of (1) the investigated
management theories, (2) software development methods Scrum and RUP, (3) the ex-
periences of a Holacracy practitioner and (4) from the perspective of my own humble
management experience.
From the Perspective of Theories
From the perspective of the investigated theories Holacracy is expected to deliver the
promised results. From the investigated scientific work in general, the concept of dy-
namic steering, arose from Agile and Integral philosophies and the Requisite Control
Structure (among others), can be appointed as a revolutionary concept for organiza-
tions in order to become more adaptive and aware of the changing environment. The
incorporated practices from Agile, Sociocracy and Requisite Control Structure could
in theory increase the effectiveness of the organization by (1) enhancing organiza-
tional learning, (2) make the work to be done more explicit and driven by purpose, (3)
let the organizational structure emerge from the work that is to be done and (4) dis-
tributing authority to individuals in explicit roles within self-organizing teams. From
the perspective of theories Holacracy looks promising, but (empirical) evidence is
needed to support these claims.
From the Perspective of Software Development Methods RUP and
To investigate how Holacracy could work for software development we reason on
how two common development methods would complement Holacracy. Where Scrum
is an Agile software development method which can be described as adaptive, RUP is
more descriptive method (although not as prescriptive as the Waterfall approach) [7].
In [10] Robertson states that the predictive control approach often conflicts with the
agile software development process. The software process is Agile, but does not
interface well with other parts of the organization (like, for example, Sales). It is
therefore expected that an adaptive control approach, like Holacracy, would com-
plement well with an adaptive software development process like Scrum [10]. The
reverse is also expected: An adaptive control approach could conflict with a prescrip-
tive software development process because an adaptive control approach needs rapid
feedback in order to work. In [7] Noorderloos et al. reports how a transition from
RUP to Scrum resulted in more rapid feedback. Scrum delivers more rapid feedback
and is more adaptive (that is, more capable of acting according to changes in the
environment) than RUP, therefore it is expected that Holacracy complements better
with Scrum than with RUP.
From the Perspective of a Practitioner
One of the early adopters of Holacracy was Twitter founder Ev Williams’ content
platform called Medium. Stirman, manager at Medium (and former Twitter), tells in
an interview [11] on more than two years of experience with Holacracy at Medium.
He compares his experiences with his former job at Twitter where a traditional top-
down structure was in place. Stirman states the difference between Holacracy and
traditional management: “With traditional management, tensions felt at the top of
the organization were ordered to be resolved at the lower operational level of the or-
ganization by people who may not even understand these tensions, and the tensions
felt at the bottom of the organization are not taken into account at all. Holacracy
makes people accountable for the tensions they feel and gives a voice to all tensions
felt throughout the organization. Stirman acknowledges that from a practical per-
spective something is missing in the framework of Holacracy: Praise, feedback and
validation are important to a healthy work environment. These tasks were formerly
fulfilled by managers. Medium took a holacratic approach to this problem and cre-
ated several roles responsible for feedback, coaching and validation.
From the Perspective of my personal Humble Management Expe-
As a software development manager at a small sized company I have four years of
management experience. In these four years I was also responsible for implementing
the agile way of working within our team and company. I would describe myself as
a servant leader, who rather supports than directs. From this perspective I will try to
share my opinion on Holacracy here.
After the transition to an Agile software development process I started noticing the
conflict with the rest of the organization (also mentioned by Robertson [10]): our
Agile process did not interface well with the business. After a year the rest of the
business was used to our process, but Agile did not make it to the core of the or-
ganization. From my opinion the Holacracy approach could, especially in a rapid
business like IT, uncover the great potential of being more in touch with the environ-
Doubts that I have on the practice is how it will work out for more junior employees.
From my personal experience, Scrum works most effective with senior developers,
and I wonder how this works out with Holacracy at the organizational level. Second,
from my own management experience I can tell that not everybody is equally capable
of self-organizing and Holacracy provides no safety net on this matter. I expect
that the less-organized will eventually be excluded from any roles and it is arguable
whether or not this is a good thing.
2.6 Conclusion
In this chapter we reported on Holacracy, a relatively new governance framework
that could possibly replace top-down hierarchies in organizational designs in order
to increase the effectiveness of organizations [9]. Because Holacracy aspires to bring
agility to the organizational level it is likely to complement with existing Agile ap-
proaches in software development, hence it is relevant to provide an overview of
what Holacracy is and what we can learn from Holacracy in managing our own busi-
Instead of a traditional top-down hierarchy, a holacratic organization consists of a hi-
erarchy of self-organizing circles in which employees energize multiple roles. Each
role has a defined purpose with an explicit description of the work to be done and the
necessary responsibilities and authority to fulfill the role. Hereby decision-making is
distributed throughout the organization and employees are given the opportunity to
act on tensions they feel at their level of the organization. Information flows through
all levels of the business by providing a framework for efficient tactical meetings
and governance meetings. The structure of the organization emerges naturally by
energizing tensions throughout the organization in order to satisfy the purpose of the
organization [9, 5, 8, 10].
To (help the reader) form an opinion we have discussed Holacracy from various
perspectives. Existing theories have been combined and refined within Holacracy,
resulting in revolutionary concepts like dynamic steering and organizational con-
sciousness [2, 4]. Also practices from existing theories have been incorporated to
ensure effective organizational learning and an efficient process [6]. From the per-
spective of theories Holacracy looks promising, but (empirical) evidence is needed
to support these claims.
From the perspective of software development methods Scrum is more likely to
complement with Holacracy than a more prescriptive method like RUP, because the
decision-making process of Holacracy drives on rapid feedback from the environ-
ment [9, 10]. The perspective of a practitioner showed positive feedback but also
revealed a missing element. Feedback and coaching, a role normally fulfilled by a
manager, are not explicitly prescribed in Holacracy [11].
My personal opinion is that the Holacracy approach could, especially in a rapidly
evolving business like IT, uncover the great potential of being more in touch with
the environment and benefit from this, but I also doubt how Holacracy will work
out with more junior teams and people who are not proficient yet in the art of self-
All eyes are now on Zappos to see how a Holacracy implementation in a large busi-
ness will work out. Hopefully we can tell more on how Holacracy worked for them
by the end of 2014.
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[4] C. Fuhs. Toward an integral approach to organization theory. 2009. Available
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[8] B. J. Robertson. An Interview with Brian Robertson President of Ternary Soft-
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agile-software-development-holacracy, 2013. [Online;
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[11] J. Stirman. How Medium Is Building a New Kind of Company
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how-medium-is-building-a-new-kind- of-company-with-no-managers,
2013. [Interview].
... .20 Holacracy, (2022). 21Van de Kamp, (2014). ...
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Günümüz teknolojisi ilerledikçe blok zincire ve kripto para birimlerine dair ilgi ve bu konulardaki uygulamaların sayısı her geçen gün artmaktadır. Kripto para piyasasında binlerce farklı kripto para birimi yer almaktadır. Bu çalışmanın amacı kripto paraların nasıl çalıştığı ve birbirlerinden çalışma prensipleri doğrultusunda nasıl ayrıştıklarının tespitidir. Blok zincir teknolojisine dayanan kripto para birimlerini daha iyi anlayabilmek için bu çalışma kapsamında blok zincir sisteminin başlıca işleyiş prensipleri ve özelliklerine dair temel bilgiler verilmiş, ardından kripto para çeşitleri belli özelliklerine göre sınıflandırılmıştır. Son olarak bu sınıflandırmanın ardından en temel kripto para birimlerinden bazıları tanıtılmış ve bu kripto para birimlerinin çalışma yöntemlerindeki benzerlikler ve farklılıklar karşılaştırılmıştır. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Binance Coin, Ripple, Cardano çalışma yöntemleri özel olarak incelenen kripto paralar iken piyasada etkin diğer bazı kripto paraların da çalışma prensiplerine yer verilmiştir.
... Chartier-Rueg & Zweifel, (2017).20 Holacracy, (2022). 21Van de Kamp, (2014). ...
Blok zincir teknolojisi uygulamaları iş dünyasında finans, kanun yaptırımı, eğitim, sağlık hizmetleri, tedarik zincirleri ve üretim dâhil olmak üzere farklı alanlarda kapsam ve hacim olarak genişlemeye devam etmektedir. Önemi gittikçe artan bir ivmeyle hem nitel hem de nicel anlamda iş dünyasında yönetim ve strateji açısından değişime ve dönüşüme yol açmaktadır. Bu değişim sadece iş dünyasında değil, iş dünyasına yönetici yetiştiren işletme fakülteleri ile diğer ilgili eğitim kurumlarının müfredatlarının değişimini zorunlu kılmaktadır. Bu bölümde, blok zincir teknolojisinin iş dünyasına yönetim ve strateji açısından etkileri, faydaları, zorlukları, hangi değişim ve dönüşümlere yol açtığı, bu değişim ve dönüşümlere istinaden üniversitelerin eğitim birimlerine ders olarak eklenmesi ya da farkındalık ve bilgi düzeyinin artırılmasına yönelik düzenlenen eğitim, konferans ve benzeri etkinliklere artan ilgi ve verilen önem ele alınmış olup, bu bağlamda konunun aydınlığa kavuşturulması amacıyla hem literatürden sağlanan bilgiler hem de üniversitelerin Bologna ya da sosyal medya platformlarından sağlanan bilgiler birlikte değerlendirilmiştir. Blok zincire geçmek isteyen işletmelerin çok sayıda ticari, teknik, yönetsel ve etik zorlukla (transfer hataları, koordinasyon zorlukları, sınırlılıklar, dolandırıcılık ve yasa dışı faaliyetler gibi) karşı karşıya oldukları görülmektedir. Ayrıca, akıllı sözleşmelerin kullanılması, kararların geliştirilmesi, yürütülmesi ve değerlendirilmesi süreçlerinin her birinin otomatik ve geri döndürülemez hâle gelmesi sebebiyle işletmelerin stratejik yönetiminin etkilendiği, örgütsel tasarımın değiştiği ve dolayısıyla işletmenin çevikliği ile yakından ilişkili bulunan holakrasi yönetim modeli olarak adlandırılan yeni bir örgütsel yönetim biçiminin ortaya çıktığı bulgularına ulaşılmaktadır. Diğer taraftan, blok zincir teknolojisinin ademi-merkeziyetçi yapısı ile ilgili olarak örgütlerin organizasyon iş modeli yeniliklerinin nasıl etkilendiğine ilişkin araştırmaların henüz yeterli düzeyde olmadığı görülmektedir. Dolayısıyla bu konuda yönetim organizasyon bilimi tarafından yapılacak daha ayrıntılı araştırmalara ihtiyaç bulunmaktadır.
... Bireylerin birden fazlasına sahip olabildiği bu rollerin gerçek sorumluluklar içermesi sebebiyle karar alma süreçleri de örgütün geneline dağıtılmaktadır. Holakraside çembere müdahil olan çalışanların her biri kendi rolünün lideri ve diğerlerinin de takipçisi konumundadır (Van de Kamp, 2014). ...
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Güncel yönetim yaklaşımlarının çeşitliliğine rağmen yönetsel sorunların artarak devam ettiği iş dünyasında, yeni yönetsel yaklaşımlara gereksinim duyulmaktadır. Bu çalışma, güncel yönetim yaklaşımlarından holakrasinin, örgütsel ve yönetsel uygulamalara olası katkılarını stratejik analiz kapsamında incelemeyi amaçlamaktadır. Bu amaçla, güncel sorunların çözümünde güncel yaklaşımların tanıtılması, anlaşılması ve uygulanmasına katkı sağlayabilecek tanımlayıcı araştırma modeli kullanılmıştır. Yazılı kaynak incelemesi ile elde edilen veriler, SWOT analizi ile güçlü ve gelişmeye açık yönler ile çevresel tehdit ve fırsatlar şeklinde değerlendirilmiştir. Sonuçlar holakrasi yaklaşımının; özerklik, ortak karar verme, öneri sistemi, merkezkaç yapı, yönetim kalitesi, yaratıcılık ve saydamlık gibi güçlü yönleri bulunduğunu; denenmemişlik, uyum, anarşi, motivasyon, statünün önemsizliği, zaman, maliyet gibi gelişmeye açık yönlerini olduğunu; insan, bilgi, teknoloji ve rekabet gibi çevresel fırsatlara sahip olduğunu; kültür, güvensizlik ve etik sorunlar gibi çevresel tehditlerin etkisinde kaldığını göstermektedir. Güçlü yönlerin pekiştirilmesi, zayıf yönlerin geliştirilmesi, fırsatların uygun biçimde değerlendirilerek tehditlerden kaçınılması ve nicel araştırmalarla desteklenmesi holakrasi yaklaşımının uygulanmasında yararlı olacaktır.
Purpose This article aims to better understand how empowered middle manager engage in change translation? Relying on the notions of building and dwelling strategizing, the authors analyze the micro-practices of middle managers during organizational change, when middle managers are freed from time-consuming administrative activities. Design/methodology/approach This empirical study relies on a qualitative embedded case study approach that involves comparing two banking units belonging to a large French bank. The qualitative data were collected from three different sources: exploratory and semi-structured interviews, observations and secondary data. The coding analysis enables to distinguish middle managers' dwelling and building strategizing during organizational change. Findings The study’s findings show how managers translate organizational change relying on both building and dwelling strategizing. By doing so, managers enable to adapt the prescribed strategy to local circumstances and foster front-line empowerment. Research limitations/implications Even though the findings are based on the analysis of a single organization, the authors provide several theoretical insights. First, the authors contribute to the recent academic debate in strategy-as-practice literature by showing the recursive relation between building and dwelling strategizing. The authors also shed a new light on middle managers' strategizing by emphasizing the idea that middle managers are not only passive change “translators” but that middle managers enact a real agency in the organizational change process. Practical implications From a managerial perspective, the study’s findings enable to enlight what empowering middle managers means in practice. Indeed, the authors show clear empirical illustrations of how middle managers can be empowered by both organizational structure and top-management support. The results also reveal how empowering middle managers enable to empower their team by three different activities: (1) federate the team spirit to facilitate collaboration; (2) develop employees' capabilities and (3) adjust managers' activity according to employees' needs. Originality/value While multiple current new ways of organizing encourage to transform organizations from inefficient bureaucracies into flatter and more dynamic project-based teams, calling into question the importance of middle managers' strategic role, this study provides an original case study of an organization that chose to run against the tide and created an additional middle management level.
Mithilfe des Managementkonzepts Holacracy sollen die aktuellen Herausforderungen von Organisationen bewältigt werden. In diesem Beitrag stellt Phanmika Sua-Ngam-Iam zunächst dar, wie die Holacracy konzipiert ist, um den von Organisationen wahrgenommenen heutigen Problemen zu begegnen. Die Machart des Managementkonzepts wird daher präsentiert. Nach der Darstellung des Forschungsstands zu Holacracy lässt sich bereits vermuten, dass sich das Konzept der Holacracy von seiner tatsächlichen Praxis unterscheidet. Wie sich die faktische Ausprägung der Holacracy in Organisationen darstellt, wird in den einzelnen Beiträgen des Sammelbands herausgearbeitet. In diesem Beitrag wird darum abschließend ein Überblick über alle Sammelbandbeiträge gegeben und die methodische Herangehensweise bei der Analyse der faktischen Ausprägung vorgestellt.
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This study compares illegitimate tasks and appreciation in traditional work organisations and holacracy work organisations based in Switzerland and Germany. In addition, the study tests whether the fit between employees and holacracy organisations depends on personality characteristics. Ninety-five employees working in holacratic companies participated in an online survey with standardised questionnaires on illegitimate tasks, Big Five personality dimensions, perceived holacracy satisfaction and person–organisation fit. For the comparison of illegitimate tasks and appreciation, a propensity-matching comparison group of people working in traditional companies was used. The results revealed significantly lower illegitimate tasks t(53) = −2.04, p < 0.05, with a lower level (2.49) in holacracy than in traditional work (2.78). Concerning appreciation, the results showed significantly higher values for holacratic (5.33) than for traditional work [4.14, t(53) = 4.86, p < 0.001]. Multiple linear regression of holacracy satisfaction on personality dimensions showed neuroticism (b = −4.72, p = 0.006) as a significant predictor. Agreeableness showed marginally significant results (b = 2.39, p = 0.06). This indicates that people scoring low on neuroticism and high in agreeableness may thrive better in holacracy organisations. Based on the results, theoretical and practical implications as for example implications for corporates hiring strategy, are discussed. Finally, this study presents numerous directions for future research.
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Cette recherche porte sur l’association de deux objets de gestion : l’entreprise de l’ESS, à la gouvernance démocratique, et l’entreprise libérée, prônant une organisation managériale libératrice et émancipatrice. Alors que le fonctionnement démocratique de la première semble condamner à la dégénérescence par la littérature, nous montrons que ce déterminisme s’appuie sur un impensé : une organisation démocratique du travail. Parallèlement, l’entreprise libérée, dernière mode managériale contemporaine, est amplement critiquée par la littérature scientifique. En particulier, nous montrons que ses partisans se sont contentés d’une « libération » de l’organisation du travail. Il existe de fait un plafond de verre de la gouvernance d’entreprise. Ces deux catégories organisationnelles semblent donc complémentaires et leur association constitue une réunion originale pour repenser l’organisation et la gestion de l’entreprise. Pour étudier le potentiel démocratique de cet objet de gestion unique, cette recherche mobilise une double approche théorique démocratique : les communs et l’agonisme. D’un point de vue empirique, nous nous appuyons sur une étude de deux cas d’entreprise : un supermarché coopératif, mettant en place une organisation sociocratique et holacratique, et une entreprise sociale du secteur de l’aide à domicile, entreprise commerciale de l’ESS organisée par équipe autonome. Cette thèse propose une triple contribution. Tout d’abord, nous analysons le potentiel démocratique d’une ouverture de la gouvernance au sein de l’entreprise libérée. Ensuite, nous contribuons à approfondir le fonctionnement démocratique des entreprises de l’ESS. Plus précisément, cette thèse permet de réexaminer la théorie de la dégénérescence. Enfin, nous dévoilons des conditions, des effets et des enjeux d’une démocratisation organisationnelle de l’entreprise.
Business firms play an increasingly influential role in contemporary societies, which has led many scholars to return to the question of the democratisation of corporate governance. However, the possibility of democratic deliberation within firms has received only marginal attention in the current debate. This article fills this gap in the literature by making a normative case for democratic deliberation at the workplace and empirically assessing the deliberative capacity of self-organised teams within business firms. It is based on sixteen in-depth interviews in six German firms which practice various forms of self-organised teamwork. The article argues that self-organised teamwork can create a space for authentic, inclusive, and consequential deliberation by suspending authoritarian control structures within business firms. Finally, the article proposes the consideration of firms not only as necessary parts of a larger deliberative system but also as deliberative systems in themselves.
Objective - This paper explores how global corporations apply contemporary approaches in management known as holacracy, and its impact on company performance. The paper argues that the number of corporations with an incorporated model of holacracy is growing and that it leads to an increase of employee's creativity and engagement, which directly affect a companies' performance. Furthermore, the study sheds light on broadening the theoretical link between holacratic management models and company performance in the context of global corporations at the level of internationalization. Methodology/Technique - The study provides evidence from over fifty selected worldwide companies for the period between 2014 and 2016. The data has been collected from annual reports and other secondary based sources and consists of companies possessing features of holacracy, which is one of the phenomena of management in the twenty-first century. In this paper, empirical data has been operationalized and several OLS regression models have been employed, in order to discover the link between modern management models and firm performance. Findings - The paper's findings outline the fact that holacracy positively affects a companys' performance and that the number of global companies using holacratic models is growing. Novelty - To demonstrate the originality or value of the paper which makes it different from prior studies. Type of Paper - Empirical Keywords: Holacratic Management Model; Corporations; Organizational Design.
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The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of the evolution of Integral Futures, a new perspective and methodology in futures studies. Our approach relied primarily on a literature review, supplemented by one-on-one phone interviews and a survey of futurist practitioners (briefly summarised in Appendix A.) Integral Futures is an approach to futures studies that adapted Ken Wilber's Integral Theory to futures practice. Integral Theory is not exclusively the domain of Wilber, but he is its leading exponent and was central in popularising the idea. The domain is expanding with new voices and ideas increasingly contributing to the conversation. A key concept underlying Integral Theory is to include as many perspectives, styles, and methodologies as possible when exploring a topic. 1 There are several excellent overviews of Integral Theory 2 for those new to the topic. But for our purposes here, a brief characterisation will suffice. Integral Theory suggests that four irreducible perspectives (subjective, inter-subjective, objective, and inter-objective) should be consulted when attempting to fully understand any topic or aspect of reality." 3 These four perspectives are represented in a four-quadrant model. The four perspectives embodied in each quadrant are summarised briefly below: • The upper left Intentional (subjective) is the individual's interior world, which can only be accessed via interpretation. The concerns are individual motivation, changes in people's values, perceptions, and goals, and the meaning of life. • The upper right Behavioural (objective) is the individual's exterior world, in which individual behaviour can be observed. The concerns are changes in the ways people act externally, e.g. voting patterns, consumer behavior, reproductive practices, etc.
As societies develop and organizations become increasingly more complex, more ad-vanced management models are necessary to deal with the intricate challenges they face. On the threshold of an integral era, how should organizations be viewed by leaders and what might the management model through which they operate be like? This article provides an overview of evolv-ing business-oriented worldviews from first-tier to second-tier developmental levels. It then propos-es an integral framework for business-an Integral Management Meta-model-that can be adopted by leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, and consultants who want to implement a more comprehen-sive and deeper management approach in their business.
Conference Paper
In this paper we present the results of a case study at two offshore projects that recently adopted the agile way of working. We analyze their multi-site governance activities adopted and adjusted based on the Scrum methodology. Furthermore, we identify those changes that the Scrum adoption brought, in comparison with the previous governance structure of the Rational Unified Process (RUP). We find that a transition from RUP to Scrum brings a positive effect in requirements engineering, communication, cost management and cross-functionality of the distributed teams. We also observe a negative change with regard to the development pace and delivery time. Overall, we add to the body of knowledge in the field of distributed agile, with an additional field study where we describe and compare the migration from RUP to Scrum, and the implications of this transition.
Conference Paper
An effective organization is agile in responding to environmental stimuli. Business Process Management (BPM) enhances the organization's agility by enabling faster reassembly of business processes. To redeem this promise on an enterprise-scale, BPM requires an appropriate governance mechanism to facilitate coordination of people and ICT assets. In this paper, sociocracy is studied as a generic governance system to enhance organizational learning and enable dynamic organizational steering. An additional construct, Requisite Control Structure, is postulated and related to Requisite Organization. Enterprise-wide service-oriented BPM is explained in terms of this control structure and a suggestive circle organization for BPM governance is proposed. It is hypothesized that the proposed BPM governance structure will help the organization to find and reinforce its natural control structure and thereby develop its agility and organizational effectiveness.
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