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Bossless Companies: Could You Work Without a Boss?

Fef 2012/06/20 01:38:07
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Valve Software, creators of the video game Half-Life and social-distribution network Steam, have a "flat employee structure" -- the company doesn't have bosses or managers.

Bossless doesn't always mean flat, however. Some companies rely on "lattices" or teams instead of bosses. W.L. Gore has relied on lattice management since its founding in 1958. The company, which produces Gore-Tex and other materials, has a chief executive who admits one flaw in the flat structure. "It absolutely is less-efficient upfront," says Terri Kelly, but she added, "[But] once you have the organization behind it…the buy-in and the execution happen quickly."

Tim Clem works for GitHub. He persuaded his company to flatten its hierarchy. Tim said, "you feel like there is total trust and an element of freedom and ownership. It makes you want to do more." Other times the bossless hierarchy creates chaos.

Take a peak at Valve Software's Employee Handbook -- not your usual handbook:
That’s why Valve is flat. It’s our shorthand way of saying that we don’t have any management, and nobody “reports to” anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he isn’t your manager. This company is yours to
steer—toward opportunities and away from risks. You have the power to green-light projects. You have the power to ship products.


Teams of management. Democratic process. Flat hierarchies. Bossless companies. Some corporations have succeeded with employee organized processes, but it hasn't worked for all companies or employees. Some people thrive within structure. How about your ideal company?

The Wall Street Journal reports:Welcome to the bossless company, where the hierarchy is flat, pay is often determined by peers, and the workday is directed by employees themselves.

bossless company hierarchy flat pay determined peers workday directed employees

Read More: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023033...

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Top Opinion

  • Pat 2012/06/20 01:58:05
    Yes
    Pat
    +6
    Yes. After you know your job, I don't know why most workers need a boss. If they're good employees and know what they're doing they certainly don't need constant supervision. All they need is a go to person when there's a problem or issue that requires a management decision.

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  • P. Sturm 2012/06/25 21:51:12
    Yes
    P. Sturm
    I've worked with professional most of my life. Initially, we sit down and plan what we'll do, and then go do it. We never had a boss as such, except on paper for admin BS.
  • Boaafoos 2012/06/24 07:51:25
    Yes
    Boaafoos
    Sometimes I feel that my boss is the only reason my work is delayed... it takes him forever to approve something
  • KrazyArchyGurl 2012/06/22 07:34:46
    Yes
    KrazyArchyGurl
    I'd rather be my own boss...
  • Neil Humphrey 2012/06/21 22:25:02
    Yes
    Neil Humphrey
    I am the boss.
  • AdrianaE.Loera 2012/06/21 21:48:40 (edited)
    Yes
    AdrianaE.Loera
    There still need to be audits to maintain a balance in the workplace and put some difficult people back in line. If the employees manage to focus on the task at hand without letting petty differences stand in the way of their group goals it's a very effective model IMO. There are too many managers who develop monstrous egos and who are downright cruel to their subordinates. I couldn't work in a toxic environment like that which explains why I am self-employed...
  • lucky 2012/06/21 21:23:40
    Yes
    lucky
    Probably better
  • METALheadMom 2012/06/21 20:13:52 (edited)
    Yes
    METALheadMom
    I hate working for anyone who is half as intelligent as I am. Would I work in a place where more than ONE dummy had the right to push me around? NEVER! That's why I am my own boss now.
  • Gia 2012/06/21 20:08:53
    Yes
    Gia
    Yes! Just as long as knew what the job was about. Would love it.
  • TKramar 2012/06/21 18:41:35
    Yes
    TKramar
    I do now.
  • Michael 2012/06/21 18:08:48
    Yes
    Michael
    Who fires who is what I want to know!
  • sahar 2012/06/21 17:09:10
    Yes
    sahar
    when i be be the boss myslef
  • DeborahLakeHelen 2012/06/21 17:04:24
    Yes
    DeborahLakeHelen
    I am ABLE to work without my boss, the owner of the company I work for, and I also DO work without my boss every time I'm on a shift. My job assignments require me to work independently, except for overlapping shift changes, or the rare instance when two are assigned to a job.
  • joshua ben-ami 2012/06/21 16:27:04
    Yes
    joshua ben-ami
    Have and do, and find I am more productive because of less stress from counterproductive power mad supervisors that lack management skills or talents
  • Dodgerfan 2012/06/21 16:13:55
    Yes
    Dodgerfan
    Do it now and did it when I worked for a company.
  • Metaldane 2012/06/21 16:03:22
    Yes
    Metaldane
    Yes I work for a company that during the day to day operation in just the store has almost ten levels of management you have to deal with and each manager has favorites there's one worker on my shift been here just a month longer then ms and if I had done half the things she has I'd be gone. If we didn't have management just the store manager/owner my job would become much easier because I wouldnt have to educate my manager on my job everytime I ask for something I'd be dealing with coworkers who already know my job.
  • PapaBC 2012/06/21 15:58:33
    Yes
    PapaBC
    BUT without some lead how would you know what to do? A person on welfare has not boss and look at what they do to earn income.
  • Paul Adam 2012/06/21 15:38:48
    Yes
    Paul Adam
    No boss over me at work or at home. I am a free liberal in this concern. & I am very specific about this demand.
  • phil 2012/06/21 14:43:08
    Yes
    phil
    Sure why not
  • TheMayor 2012/06/21 14:36:06
    No
    TheMayor
    Been there, done that, and the Crazy Lazies were the only winners every time. Sounds like the state of utopia re-invisioned again and again with the slackers sucking up ever-increasing entitlements.
  • Chris 2012/06/21 14:31:09
    Yes
    Chris
    All a boss does is many cases is direct money.

    Take profits in, pay bills & employees, keep a huge share from him or herself for doing little more than having the title of boss.
  • Elisa ✦ Knockout™ 2012/06/21 14:05:45 (edited)
    Yes
    Elisa ✦ Knockout™
    Fef, I wish you made an undecided option, lol. But like ok so does this mean at anytime you wanted to give yourself a raise you just say "I think i want a raise " You can just give yourself a raise? I like the idea but at the same time having a boss isn't all that bad. What do i know lol. I don't work yet haha but i'm just saying. :)
  • MorrowJenifer 2012/06/21 13:12:34
  • mooksiecuddlepoof 2012/06/21 11:03:37
    No
    mooksiecuddlepoof
    I don't think I could work without a boss because I would need someone there to keep me on track and point out my mistakes to make me better at something.
  • CAPISCE 2012/06/21 09:05:25
    Yes
    CAPISCE
    I do now
  • Aksana 2012/06/21 07:24:48
    Yes
    Aksana
    Yes
  • TheTruth1313 2012/06/21 07:24:15
    Yes
    TheTruth1313
    Happily
  • David 2012/06/21 06:52:19
    Yes
    David
    The possible downside is people getting lazy and lack of executive decision.
  • IrisLq 2012/06/21 06:47:43
    Yes
    IrisLq
    *sob* Tis my dream! LOL!
  • ~HopelessRomanticM17~ 2012/06/21 05:55:30
    No
    ~HopelessRomanticM17~
    +1
    Well....yes and no. Depends.
  • PeterJH43 2012/06/21 05:50:27
    Yes
    PeterJH43
    The anti-white Establishment can`t boss me around.I know Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!
    This is genocide according to international law
    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.
  • hello kitty 2012/06/21 05:40:02
    Yes
    hello kitty
    who would want to work with one ? >_<
  • Dave0626 2012/06/21 04:36:40
    Yes
    Dave0626
    +2
    Though I do have several bosses...I mostly work with out them...I think they be afraid of me...lol...

    bosses work afraid lol
  • beach bum 2012/06/21 04:29:02
    Yes
    beach bum
    yes
  • disclaimer 2012/06/21 04:22:46 (edited)
    Yes
    disclaimer
    It sounds good, but I'm just imagining an Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies situation here.
  • TheBorg 2012/06/21 04:21:11
    Yes
    TheBorg
    I find it hypocritical that politicians espouse democracy but then cater to the elite corporate 1%. There are numerous companies that put their money were their mouth is and actually run their company as a democracy. You can find a list here: http://worldblu.com/awardee-p...

    If you want an economic recovery and happy and productive employees, then politicians need to cut off the subsidies to the oil barons and wall street bankers and invest that money into democratically run companies.
    oil barons wall street bankers invest money democratically run companies
  • alex 2012/06/21 03:46:41 (edited)
    No
    alex
    You've gotta have some kind of leader. I guess a group of leaders to teach newbies at the job then that works too...
  • Bob, the reasonable one 2012/06/21 03:42:42
    Yes
    Bob, the reasonable one
    I don't need supervision...nothing pisses me off more than a supervisor sitting on their fat ass dictating to others.....
  • Christopher Kirchen 2012/06/21 03:18:43
    No
    Christopher Kirchen
    Are people that whiny these days, that having someone "over" them would bruise their poor wittle self esteems? this culture has gotten sad.
  • tragic silence 2012/06/21 03:08:18
    Yes
    tragic silence
    I'd rather collaborate and work with others than boss or be bossed. It's worked well from me in the past.
  • Claybern 2012/06/21 03:05:25
    Yes
    Claybern
    I have owned my own business for 32 years now. After doing that I could never work for anyone now.

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