Considering the plot of last year’s “Horrible Bosses,” where three men plot to murder their bosses, it’s fair to say that anyone with a job spends a lot of thinking about upper management. Love them or hate them, bosses are a part of life.
Or are they? Enter the boss-less company. Many organizations today are flattening the traditional layers of management to create a whole new workplace landscape where peers rank each other, teams work together on group projects, and everyone has an equal voice. In some of these companies, hiring, firing, and salaries are just some of the decisions made by all of the employees as a group. Bosses exist in name only, if they exist at all. But in many of them, promotions don’t exist either. Most workers take a while to adjust to such environments, while some never do.
Can a company really function with no one in charge? Would your company be more or less productive without upper management? Could boss-less companies be the way of the future?
Chris Wanstrath, CEO and co-founder of GitHub, a San Francisco-based software development company
Frank Shipper, professor of management, Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland
Ed Frauenheim, senior editor, Workforce Management Magazine