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Would You Work at an Organization That Had No Titles or Managers?

Two arrows pointing in the opposite direction.

Last week, the business world was buzzing about the latest change at Zappos: CEO Tony Hsieh has gotten rid of job titles and managers, creating what is known as a holacracy.

Over on Quartz, Aimee Grotz notes that Zappos will consist of 400 “circles” and members of each circle can have a variety of roles. The goal is to limit bureaucracy, disperse leadership, and maintain a start-up culture. Zappos is not alone in this approach; Medium and 37Signals use a similar model. However, there are a few risks involved. Inc. reporter Issie Lapowsky states:

"Not only is it tough for existing managers to cede control, but it can be equally difficult for junior employees to find equal footing with people who used to be their superiors. Some research even shows that people may subconsciously prefer hierarchical structures. There’s even more research pointing to evidence that clearly defined hierarchies enhance productivity when it comes to tasks that demand cooperation."

The other question I have is: Does this require promotion-oriented employees to shift their pursuits? For some people, “moving up” is a key part of their career advancement, yet does this model accommodate such thinking?

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by Allison Jones

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