Could a baseball team function without a manager? Could an orchestra play without the conductor?
I thought of these scenarios after reading a recent article, “Managers? Who Needs Those?: At Some Tech Firms, Disdain for Hierarchy Collides With Need for Oversight,” that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The article covers startup tech firms that have an apparent “disdain for management” and view managers as “archaic, or worse, dead weight.”
Watch out Harvard Business School — a new paradigm is here! The only problem is that without management in place it was reported that decisions “were sometimes left hanging for weeks or months.” Does the elimination of traditional management titles or the formality of a hierarchy foster greater growth potential or opportunity for advancement? Doesn’t someone(s) have to “steer the boat”? It will be interesting to see how long startups can survive in the anti-management mode. Certainly, tech firms that are now listed on the NYSE had to abandon that model and adopt some traditional corporate structures while maintaining unique cultures on their paths to success.