No manager in workplace … is it good?

Thinking about organizations, you might think about hierarchy, relations between managers and employees or even tension from being in control. But after studying Zappos case study, I found that Zappos is using an organizational structure that changes perspective of management and organization.

How does it feel if we remove all managers out of the organization?

“No manager” workplace was recently introduced and extensively used in some companies since they wanted to reduce problems between boss and employee, for example, politics in workplace. This structure aims to empower employees, let them work independently, eliminate all the extraneous factors that worry employees, make workplace flatter so employees will be more engaging with their works and organization and make everything in workplace simple, fast and explicit.

It seems good not to have a demanding and moody boss commands and guides you all the time so employees in the workplace would enjoy their freedom but the question is … Is this structure really good?

Yes, it’s good but I think it fits better for small organizations that have small group of employees and works are not complicated. Here are the reasons why I don’t think it would work for large organizations.

–       Coordination. Employees work independently but under the same organization, all works and tasks need to be coordinated and go in the same direction. How could we control this diversification? In conventional structure boss generally controls and guides employees to work in the same direction.

–       Motivation. We can’t deny that boss is the main reason to get works done. When boss says deadline, it’s a deadline. With no boss, employees must have high responsibility and driving force to get things done.

–       Praise and feedback. Boss usually gives employees feedback whether their work is good or bad. It’s important to have someone to check and see if you overlook something or to praise and support you when you work really hard.

–       Chaotic. Imagine large organizations with no managers, it would be chaotic because nobody takes control.

As I mentioned earlier that this structure fits better with small organizations but there are a lot of large organizations out there that use this structure and they become so successful such as Gore-Tex and Zappos.

I think the key of “no manager” organization is recruitment. The big question is “Who is the one that fit this structure?” Because it is different from other structures and it would be harder for companies if they hire someone who does not fit. Not only skills and mastery, attitudes and mindset are important for recruitment as well. With this structure, organization has to reduce diversification in attitudes, personalities of employees, so they can get along easier with others. And employees should be independent, good at working alone and making decisions. Zappos and Gore-Tex also have their own way of recruitment.

I can say that this is an innovation of management but it doesn’t fit all organizations because each one has different characteristics. So it doesn’t matter which structure is used in the organization because the key of success is people.



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