What Lessons Should We Learn From Valve’s Innovative Management Model?

Julian Birkinshaw

Abstract


Valve is a fascinating example of a company experimenting with a new way of working – one in which there are no traditional managers, and where employees are encouraged to take direct responsibility for choosing their own projects and completing them in an efficient and effective way. Of course, Valve is not alone in pushing a “manager free” model. Zappos (owned by Amazon) is currently experimenting with a similar model they call “holacracy”, and moving further back in time there are such classic examples as W.L. Gore and Associates’ “lattice structure”, Oticon’s “spaghetti organization”, and Brazilian industrial products company, Semco. Nonetheless, Valve’s experiments are note worthy because they are ambitious, visible, and so far very successful.

Keywords


new forms of organizing; organizational forms; non-hierarchical organizations; self-organizing teams; boss-less organizations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7146/jod.20175

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ISSN: 2245-408X

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