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!
Ford's management model became the most influential one in the early 20th century. It embraced the possibilities enabled by the assembly line. This was followed by the General Motors' model (i.e. the multidivisional firm), and later by Toyota's model (i.e. Lean). More recently, electronic technologies (like computers and the Internet) have enabled the rise of the global 'Agile movement' with Spotify's model as the poster child. But now, with more and more IoT technologies, what will become the most influential management model of the future?
Maria Popova writes, “The history of the world is the history of telling others who and what we are—from tribal markings to national flags to family crests to pronoun-specifying email signatures.” How we choose to tell our stories—and what artifacts we choose to highlight—alters the way we hear our past, experience our present, and create our future.
Just over 5 years ago we quit our corporate jobs to start Corporate Rebels. Our mission was simple: to make work more fun. And it hasn’t changed. Five years later, it’s fair to ask: "Where do we now stand in the workplace revolution"?