Photograph by Ruaridh Stewart — ZUMAPRESS
By Benjamin Snyder
June 2, 2015

Over the past year, Zappos has instituted a controversial management structure called holacracy, which abolishes traditional corporate hierarchy in favor of self-governance. The online shoe retailer recently offered employees pay to leave since adopting holacracy, and 14% accepted the offer to avoid working under the model.

So, what is holacracy about, really? According to its constitution, “Holacracy is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss.” It continues, “The work is actually more structured than in a conventional company, just differently so. With Holacracy, there is a clear set of rules and processes for how a team breaks up its work, and defines its roles with clear responsibilities and expectations.”

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has taken the new management method to heart, but admitted in a memo to employees earlier this year, “It’s not for everyone.” Of course, holacracy isn’t the only unusual management ideology to make its way into boardroom. Here are three others, which all seek to distribute power at a company more evenly among its employees.


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