Valve's Way


  • Phanish Puranam
  • Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson



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


What can we learn from outliers? While statisticians rightly warn us against their non-representativeness, we believe it is also true that thinking carefully about what makes them atypical may improve our understanding of the typical case. This is the premise behind the Organization Zoo series. Valve Corporation (Valve) is an unusual firm. It is a rare example of a firm that appears to operate without any formal hierarchy in its organization. What can we learn about the viability of authority hierarchies from Valve’s way of organizing? We wrote a brief account of Valve based on public information sources and asked several renowned organizational experts to comment on this unusual firm. We asked them to write a short commentary on what the Valve example means for organizational theorists and practitioners. Thankfully, they all accepted, and we are excited to present the results of their thinking in this first “exhibit” in the Organization Zoo.




How to Cite

Puranam, P., & Håkonsson, D. D. (2015). Valve’s Way. Journal of Organization Design, 4(2), 2–4.



Organization Zoo