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Literature Review

History

The hierarchical, or “Top Down” leadership model has been the preferred management method used in organizations, in which power is funneled through a select few individuals who render all decisions. Although a wide variety of leadership styles have been employed to empower subordinates in the past, none have gained the wide-spread interest from business leaders as the contemporary approach known as holacracy. Dr. Radhakrishnan Nair’s approach goes beyond decentralization and empowerment towards self-management. Dr. Nair (2016) asserted that each employee can fill multiple roles at a time, depending on their mission and responsibilities. In 2007, Brian Robertson created the Ternary Software Company by conceptualizing the notion that power is equally distributed among all employees. In addition, the progressive method eradicated leader/subordinate relationships and replaced job descriptions with work setting roles. Robertson also created a governance process for decision-making that takes away the ego, as well as preferences, from the equation – thereby creating the holacracy constitution. This constitution provides the rules and guidance to align members with holacracy; this framework also supplies flexibility, as it allows for change as needed – so long as the change requested does not cause detrimental damage to the organization itself.

         Sociocracy pillars of dynamic governance, decision-making by consent, and consistent feedback played a vital role in shaping holacracy, which contributed to its increased adoption by multiple organizations. The theory of asserting the same level of control in the workplace for all is an engaging method of collective (e.g., individual and organizational) goal realization. Although a developing concept, there are principal advantages and disadvantages of holacracy through organizational implementation. 

Advantages

         Holacracy creates an environment based off of autonomy, decreasing the need for management practices for the in leadership positions. Due to the equal distribution of power, all employees can make their own decisions – thereby eliminating the employer authorization requirement. Holacracy decreases levels of animosity in organizations, which are often attributed by workplace power imbalances and an “us versus them” mentality. Holacracy also encourages employee creativity through its self-managing approach, allowing for a variety of ideas that support organizational innovative practices.

         Cultivating a peer to peer workplace allows for efficient, innovative, and flexible decision-making capabilities. As previously discussed, the burden of decision-making is shared by all in traditional leadership models (e.g., members do not have to funnel information upward to make decisions). Instead of waiting for a decision to be rendered, the autonomy of holacracy expedites ‘precise’ decision-making; this precision is attributed from the subject matter experts’ ability to readily make the decisions that will directly impact their roles. This autonomous perspective supports that direct levels of interaction (versus the upper levels of management) are often more equipped with the information available to make the most sound and effective decision (Yew, 2020).

         Many organizations, regardless of industry, are weakened by unsatisfied employees. The self-satisfaction created by an environment that embraces holacracy contributes to the overall happiness of members. Motivation in the workplace, or lack thereof, directly correlates with its efficiency. By allowing the ownership of ideas, employees will be gain a sense of empowerment and inclusivity; these aspects will increase intrinsic motivation and corresponding levels of commitment to their organization. 

Disadvantages

The implementation of holacracy is complex – and the time to prepare a company is crucial for its success. Pre-conditions such as training personnel and organizational restructuring must be met before the change can occur. Small ‘startup’ companies will be able to implement holacracy processes more readily than an existing company with over one hundred employees. Larger companies transitioning to the contemporary model will have to invest revenue in training and require years to accommodate implementation strategies. The transition from a hierarchical to a holacracy model is drastic and will disrupt the known processes and habits developed within the organization over the years. Employees may not welcome the trade from small unit leaders to self-managers. Zappos, for example, lost 18% of employees [out of a workforce of 1,500] when the organization transitioned to holacracy in 2014 (Kumar & Mukherjee, 2018). Employees are often uncomfortable with change and it becomes apparent when large-scale organizational implementations are conducted; not all members are willing or able to assume initiative and think creatively to accommodate change. Innovative and flexible ideas are crucial for holacracy; however, if a person embraces self-management, it is unlikely that they will keep up with their organizational demands.

Although the implementation of holacracy in an organization is a key matter for the workforce, sustainability [as the company expands and grows] is another principal aspect of concern. With the elimination of job titles, organizational identity is degraded – which may contribute to the development of animosity [over time] between employees. As with the effects of any organizational change, human emotions may impede progress throughout the implementation process, presenting further challenges and affecting the likelihood of long-term company success (Kumar & Mukherjee, 2018).

FINDINGS

(I AM WRITING ABOUT THE FINDINGS AS PART OF A TEAM

WE ARE WRITING ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS AND I CHOSE “FINDINGS”

INSTRUCTIONS: (3 PAGES)

THESE 3 PAGES WILL BE ABOUT THE FINDINGS BASED ON LITERATURE, SUCH AS CASE STUDIES/SCHOLARLY REPORTS. WE NEED TO FINDINGS OF THE COMPANY’S THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL AND THE COMPANY’S THAT WERE NOT SUCCUESSFUL.

1ST PAGE: SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTAION OF HOLACRACY

2ND PAGE : TALK ABOUT THE UNSUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTAITON OF HOLCRACY

3RD PAGE: ANYTHING ELSE SUCH AS INDUSTRY INTEREST IN HOLACRACY, EMPLOYEE PERCEPTIONS OF HOLACRACY….THE 3RD PAGE IS REALLY FOR WHATEVER. EVERYTHING HAS TO BE BACK WITH A REFERENCE. ( THESE ARE MY EXAMPLES BUT YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU LIKE

ALL REFERENCES MUCH MATCHS UP.

(ALL REFERENCES GO HERE)

References

Kumar, V. S., & Mukherjee, S. (2018). Holacracy – the future of organizing? the case of zappos. Human Resource Management International Digest, 26(7), 12-15.doi:http: //dx.doi.org.ezproxy2.apus.edu/10.1108/HRMID-08-2018-0161

Nair, D. R. (2016). Holacracy in academia. SCMS Journal of Indian Management, 13(1), 4. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/1780449824? accountid=8289

Yew, S. Y. (2020). Holacracy in action: Zappos experience replicability [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Università Ca’Foscari Venezia.