Why do we need to spend our working lives in organizations that are hierarchical and autocratic, when the societies that we live in are free and democratic? Many people feel that this is a big paradox.
In this video, I start by discussing whether it is possible to create organizations without a formal management structure. I argue that it is possible, but that the track record is rather discouraging. I discuss the case of Oticon, a company that tried to do without a management structure, and Morning Star, which relies on “self management”.
A more realistic approach, if one wants to become more democratic, is that proposed by Russell Ackoff, who described the concept of a “circular organization”, which is essentially a “democratic hierarchy”. In the video, I describe the key features of this approach.
You may ask whether this concept is purely theoretical or whether it has ever been implemented. It has. Among other places, it was implemented in a US hospital and a detailed account was published of the experiences from the implementation of the concept.
This is the last of the five videos about “organization design ideas that may change the world”. I hope you have found them interesting – add a comment below this post if you have a question or comment.