Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What are the pitfalls of moving away from hierarchy?

What's the best way to organise groups of people?  Experimentally-minded organisations have explored the use of 'autonomous workgroups', where teams are led from within rather than being allocated a supervisor. The psychological benefits are apparent: providing workers with more direct autonomy is well-known to promote motivation. Is the relative rarity of such approaches merely down to inertia within the world of work, or are there some challenges that need consideration? 

In a recent article, Jonas Ingvaldsen and Monica Rolfsen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology present a case study detailing 'Tools', a Norwegian tool company that decided to move from a traditional foreman situation to a flatter structure, partly led by an organisational and national culture that is sympathetic to labour empowerment. The investigators took a qualitative approach, using interviews and focus groups to gather information from team members over 13 years. They began as a new approach kicked off, where each week a different team member took on a spokesperson role. Then, the  workforce was enthusiastic: 'The flat structure has come to stay. We won’t return to the foreman system, where someone points the finger and tells you what to do.'

Yet eight years later, interviews and discussions revealed several issues. Although members wanted to do good by their team, the transient nature of the spokesperson responsibility made it possible to skimp on more onerous and seemingly less essential activities like information-sharing. Moreover, the fact that the spokesperson role was crafted around the team needs meant that when tensions between teams or functions emerged, there were few formal mechanisms to resolve disputes. Spokespeople were unable to enforce decisions that were individually unpopular but better for the larger system:  'self-management ends up with what is optimal for each individual, and that is comfort' - meaning that products were put together on a schedule that was efficient for the team but was harmful to the inventory management.

Tools switched it up. The new system involved distributed leadership, where managerial responsibilities were unbundled and made the responsibility of different team members. In this '5-M' model, one person would look after Man (eg staffing), another Machine, and so on. While this appears to have had some powerful benefits - Mileu specialists can get together in their M-meeting, and discuss how to improve air quality across the organisation - real-life problems don't always fall neatly into boxes. The interviews revealed concerns that non-essential issues often got kicked from one M to another without resolution. Concrete and immediate problems did tend to get resolved rapidly and effectively, but anything big-picture called on co-ordination that no-one was equipped for.

This case study encapsulates some of the benefits and challenges of non-hierarchical methods within large, complex organisations. Are all members dispositionally suited to taking on leadership duties over their existing work? How can they develop mastery and hence satisfaction for these duties when only practiced one week in six? Are the domains that we carve the world into sufficiently legible to the human users who have to operate with them? Worthwhile questions to help us toward a 21st century approach to the workplace.

ResearchBlogging.orgJonas A Ingvaldsen, & Monica Rolfsen (2012). Autonomous work groups and the challenge of inter-group coordination Human Relations DOI: 10.1177/0018726712448203

42 comments:

  1. Thank for this post.It was informative and explain deeply.if you wish to buy custom boxes i recommend you the site from where i am getting my packaging service Click Here

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yesterday I get the package of my empty vape cartridge packaging box that I ordered at The Cosmetic Boxes - UK. I got the exact product as I ordered. The quantity and quality both were up to the mark. Moreover, the presentation of packaging the vape cartridge was amazing. I strongly recommend you to buy vape cartridge boxes from them if you require them. Do click here site for complete descriptions of vape cartridge uk product boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing this informative post. Get you custom boxes with free shiping Click Here

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing this informative. If you like online football betting, make real money, bet on mobile phones You can play with our website that has the highest security, fun in every league, every thrilling fun game You can choose to play in any league as you want, including Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga and many more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Custom Boxes Print is a print packaging solution company dedicated to provide high quality packaging for a plethora of retail businesses. With a team of highly skilled professionals that have an eye for detail, the Custom Boxes Print brings you a range of packaging types and designs.
    Custom Cardboard Boxes

    Mailer Boxes

    ReplyDelete
  6. We offer custom boxes that give you full liberty of customizing the entire packaging at every step. Packaging is the first thing a customer notices. It has to be spot on to appeal to the customers. The visual appeal ticks a customer before they could actually choose a product. Packaging is the first impression we are committed to make that leaves a lasting impact on the customers.
    Small Cardboard Boxes
    Custom CBD Boxes

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dalam dunia games, juga ada banyak developer yang memproduksi game slot untuk hiburan.cara menang game slot di hp

    ReplyDelete
  8. JPPL is a known and established name in food packaging industry for their supply of packaging materials. Our pouches are used in Packaging of salt, Atta(flour), Pulses, Snacks etc.
    Food packaging pouch

    ReplyDelete
  9. Big thumps up!Love your blog article.You can write another blog like this. Custom Popcorn Boxes as a packaging manufacturer, the target market is the people who would like to indulge.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The best and fast services for you.You can use the Beard oil boxes For your product.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Konten bisnis mungkin akan mendapat porsi lebih tinggi dalam situs ini. Anda akan dapat menemukan berbagi tips dan strategi bisnis terbaru.Panduan SEO Wordpress

    ReplyDelete
  12. There are a lot of channels available now from Directv and Dish Network. So for those who are not aware of them, I will list the Arabic channels here.
    قصة عشق

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ludo star apk has been the most played and downloaded game since 2017. It has ranked one of the best board game among all. This board game involves four players namely red, blue, green and yellow.

    ludostarapk.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. The best and fast services for you.You can use the Beard oil boxes For your product.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Now this is something very technical just like packaging. Packaging is something that everyone (lay man) cannot understand.
    Custom Printed Stickers

    ReplyDelete
  16. With the high quality, to make their manufactured goods stand out with worth and advanced packing prepared the Fast custom boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your content is valid and informative in my personal opinion. You have really done a lot of research on this topic. Thanks for sharing it. Vape Cartridge Boxes

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thankx for sharing this article. Its really informative article. I really enjoy your site I am waiting for new article.cannabis cartridge packaging

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fast Custom Boxes is providing all kind of Rigid Reed Diffuser Boxes in the USA with free shipping service at your own places.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mind blowing! Your wording is unique.Please write an article on custom printed hemp oil boxes .Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Mind blowing! Your wording is unique.Please write an article on custom printed hemp oil boxes .Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great Post! Your article is so informative. I really like it.Can you write on cardboard mailer boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great Post! Your article is so informative. I really like it.Can you write on cardboard mailer boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautifully designed custom favor boxes are the most attractive tool to market yourself as a brand. So, using beautiful design packaging boxes helps you develop yourself as a brand in the market.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great post I like it very much keep up the good work. Read my blog CBD Boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for sharing an interesting and very useful blog. I appreciate your efforts.

    ReplyDelete
  27. พนันออนไลน์ www.warr8.com  พนันออนไลน์ ที่มีระบบฝากถอนออโต้ พร้อมทีมงานรักษาความปลอดภัยของข้อมุลผู้ใช้งานและการบริการที่รวดเร็วทันสมัยที่สุดในเวลานี้

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cyrussmathew is one of the Best Makeup Artist in Delhi NCR.We Provide best professional makeup Courses.

    ReplyDelete
  29. We have been designing and manufacturing lamps and home accessories for over 20 years out of Naples & Florida. Buy coastal lamps, Mermaid Lamp & Nautical Lamps at affordable price. Our lamps are made locally in Naples, Florida and we can ship nationally direct to your home.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Bestpriceplumbing offers the best plumbing services and is one of the top brands in the industry for countless reasons. If you are looking for an excellent Plumbers in East York , choose us as we offer affordable plumbing, honestly. We have up-front pricing with hassle free services. We are the most trusted plumbing service provider in East York. We treat your home just like you treat it. We offer a number of plumbing services.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello There. I found your blog using google. This is a very well written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. If you want write for us please visit here: mobile app development guest post

    ReplyDelete
  32. Buy the latest Lawn Collection 2021 from Reign and enjoy the best price with free home delivery.

    ReplyDelete
  33. พนันออนไลน์ www.warr8.com พนันออนไลน์ที่กำลังฮิตติดเทรนด์มีเกมที่เล่นแล้วสามารถสร้างรายได้เข้ากระเป๋าได้ง่ายๆที่นี้เลย warr8

    ReplyDelete
  34. From Reign you can buy the latest pakistani luxury pret wear at best price and enjoy free home delivery.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Online gambling www.warr8.com Online gambling that pays the fastest with an automatic system. No minimum deposit

    ReplyDelete
  36. I wish I had found your article sooner, but now I'm here. I like your fresh points in this content. Thank you for your excellent work! Custom CBD Vape Oil Cartridge Boxes

    ReplyDelete
  37. CustomBoxesU is one of the best and significant industry experts that provide you excellence in custom boxes. You can get your CBD Oil Boxes at customboxesu with the most competitive prices in your range.

    ReplyDelete
  38. MEN'S GENUINE LEATHER WHITE MOCCASIN SHOES 2021 FASHION LOAFER SHOE Are you searching for genuine leather shoes? If yes! I showcase high-class genuine Leather White Moccasin Shoes. Take advantage of using at every season, no matter practicing these at summer, winter, or spring. First-class leather shoes fashion by Turkey.

    ReplyDelete