In an effort to create a flat corporate structure at Zappos, the online shoe store owned by Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN), CEO Tony Hsieh is implementing an unconventional plan to get rid of job titles altogether. By the end of 2014, Zappos will have fully moved over to a "self-governing" system designed to encourage employee productivity and make work more efficient.
The system Hsieh has in mind is known as "Holacracy," a term derived from the Greek word holon, which means a whole that's part of a greater whole. The Holacracy will remove all job titles and managers in the Zappos structure, leaving nearly every employee on equal footing and distributing authority more evenly. There will still be leaders who "hold a bigger scope of purpose for the company," according to John Bunch, one of the Zappos employees leading the transition.
Instead of the typical corporate hierarchy, employees will be assigned to "circles" where they will work together on projects. Within the circles, employees can have any number of roles and responsibilities, sans a title, of course. Supporters of the Holacracy structure advocate that it encourages workers to think more entrepreneurially and allows employees to find their way to the right part of the job, and get it done more efficiently.
The Holacracy system was created by Brian Robertson, a former company CEO and the founder of the management consultancy HolacracyOne. Zappos, which has 1,500 employees, will be the largest company to date to implement Holacracy. Medium, the publishing platform created by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, also uses Holacracy.
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