Company “Without Hierarchy”

In recent years, we have seen the development of a special type of organization: the company “without hierarchies”. The phenomenon is not really new, but seems to have gained momentum recently. These changes are obviously not surprising, as managerial models are not stable over time and evolve over time and circumstances. Here are some points that will help you understand this organizational model more accurately, and perhaps apply it to your business.

Willingness to streamline managerial lines

First, it is important to point out that the development of this type of organization in recent years is by no means a sign that it is more efficient than others. Advocating for a company with or without a hierarchy is absolutely irrelevant, the aim is to find the most suitable managerial organization for each company. There is no good model in itself, each structure has its own specific organization.

However, even though there are no universal rules, we can still see the need for companies to lighten the managerial lines as much as possible. Too dense a hierarchical system is costly to companies and there are costs of multi-level control. In addition to this fact, hierarchical structures significantly slow down decisions of companies, which can be difficult to adapt to innovation.

What is a “company without hierarchy”?

The “absence” of hierarchy is clearly relative, but the transition to this type of organization represents a paradigm shift. We go from a very pyramidal hierarchy to a rake hierarchy. Ideally, a rake with a key person, hierarchical nodes below him (workshop manager, factory manager, etc.), and still just below the operational staff. As we can see, the hierarchy is not explicitly eliminated as we find that even in companies that advocate this mode of operation, we generally maintain at least two levels of hierarchy. Huh.

Furthermore, not all members of the autonomous group are on exactly the same level. In all cases, operations lead to a leader/manager, who exists not to control, but to facilitate things and stimulate people. He is either chosen by the operational staff, or he is a charismatic leader who leads on his own. Their role is actually to facilitate group work both internally (meetings, conflict management, technical problems, etc.) and externally towards the client or management.

The Presence of Autonomous Groups: A Real Philosophy

In a business, 90% of decisions are day-to-day decisions that must be made immediately, and the remaining 10% are long-term, strategic decisions. With all pyramid organizations today the decisions have to go up, which takes a lot of time.

In a company without hierarchy, the idea is to make all of these operational decisions by the employees operating themselves. So we will empower people, trust them and believe that their operational decisions are sound.

The idea of ​​a company without hierarchy is not only to reduce management costs, it is a philosophy above all. It is a culture that is being established, where we are empowered, where people have more freedom in their choices.

Concrete benefits of a company without hierarchy

Several elements explain the appeal of this organizational model:

  • First, it allows win time In so far as the decisions are not required to go back to the management, being taken directly by the operations.
  • on the other hand, he also increases productivityEmployee attention and motivation. By feeling that management trusts them and gives them responsibilities, employees naturally want to be more involved. The risk of “free riding” is relatively low. The person who says to himself, “As I am less controlled, I will be able to do less work” has a tendency to be regulated or ousted by the group. The leader is informed quickly and can inform the hierarchy if necessary.
  • It may also be noted that this type of environment is more Conducive to creativity and innovationNot big innovations but small changes that make it work better.
  • When faced with a problem, the person conducting it knows the situation and will devise a solution that works and thus solves the problem. We can say “people make immediate operational decisions, which are not controlled and therefore the risk of failure is significant”. In fact, decision makers are experts in their actions, less failure, There is a lot of potential for mistakes to be made when making decisions from an office without knowing exactly what is going on.
  • Cost Reduction should also be taken into account. By operating with fewer processes, with fewer controls, costs for the company are significantly reduced.
  • Finally, another important benefit: contact customer, We no longer act in terms of objectives but in terms of customer needs. The customer expresses a need and the group must fulfill it.

Company with no hierarchy Yes, but for which companies?

Today, only a small number of companies follow this approach. It should also be noted that this is not necessarily new, some structures of this type are very old, for example Harley Davidson.

It is for all but there are facilities for some areas. For example, in the IT world, given that we work by project, this type of organization is easy to set up. Therefore IT companies were the first to adopt this organizational model. Startups are naturally concerned with this phenomenon as their nature often forces them to proceed in this way.

Finally, to conclude, it should be emphasized that the nature of the tasks to be performed greatly affects the chances of success of switching to this model. In an environment where people are involved, such as the work they do, when some are in trouble because they are tired, for example, the group comes to support them. The autonomous group is very easily regulated.

On the other hand, when the work is less “pleasant”, with no added value, the chances of success are almost zero. When we are working very frequently, assembly line, packaging, for example, what most people see above is the difficulty of their work and how to lighten it. The scope for maneuver is clearly more limited in terms of the freedom left to the employees.

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