Is self-management growing, shrinking or stagnating?
As I was tossing around ideas with a friend, he asked if the number of self-managed companies was growing. After rushing to say "of course," I realized that I didn't know. We hear about companies adopting self-management, but we don't hear about the ones that fall back to command-and-control.
Have you guys looked into this at all? Have you been keeping track of the companies you've had contact with?
I believe the number is growing, but that’s a highly biased perspective as well. Not based on actual data. So, in fact I am not sure. A quick peek into Google Trends does show a growth in the search term “agile” but not in for example “self-management”. On the other hand, founder of Visa Dee Hock told us he gets loads more requests and emails about his pioneering work then before. He has been known as a pioneer for decades. Still, all this would only argue for a lot of talk, but none of this says anything about action.
Conclusion: I don't know. It might be that the number is steady and that just more connections are being made between the ones interested in the topic and/or the ones practicing progressive ways of working.
Regarding your other question: yes, we do see companies that revert to command-and-control. Take for example FAVI, where they went back to traditional hierarchy and saw profitability drop (see https://corporate-rebels.com/favi-part-2/). Joost wrote about more of the ones that went back here: https://corporate-rebels.com/when-pioneering-companies-fail/.
I agree that the work needs to continue. More awareness, more lessons, more do’s/don’ts, and more research should help us to better understand and act with this different organizational approach. It’s something that has to mature and a hell of a lot more work is needed for that.
Your work with Nearsoft is extremely important in that!
In 2012, Haier gave 12,000 managers a choice: "you can leave, or join our new structure." Some left, many stayed and joined one of 4,000 small independent companies within Haier—the so-called 'microenterprises' (MEs). Many academics, management gurus and other companies were amazed with how the ME structure stimulated entrepreneurship. So why the hell would Haier fiddle with it's structure, again?
Yash Pakka is a compostable tableware manufacturer in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. Their products are made from sugarcane waste and are 100% compostable, and the factory is even powered by its own power grid that uses rice husk as fuel. But they’re innovative not just in terms of what they make, but how they organise.