Zappos is moving to a holacracy whereby managers and job titles go by the wayside (see this CNET article among others). This is a real kick in the head to bureaucracy and hierarchy. How does this organizational design mesh with their strategy of customer service and innovation? Another nice example is Valve — see the Valve post on this site. These examples can seed a discussion of strategy, structure, and organizational design as well as a critical analysis of many practices taught in business schools. Such radical forms can be very hard to design and implement. One problem that Foss explores in a recent Organization Science paper is incentives, motivation, and the tendency of managers to meddle in tasks that they say they have delegated. Here is an entertaining Zappo’s commercial to ease into the topic (though one of the many Dilbert videos would be quite compatible as well).
Contributed by Russ Coff