The end of hierarchy? (2)

By Alexander Klier Apr 13, 2016
The end of hierarchy? (2)

Translation of the Original Article by Alexander Klier 

The particular organizational model has in its structure a direct impact on the question of the participation of employees. The debate around the end of the hierarchy now leads up to the discussion of a democratic workplace. Or even a democratic company.

Picture: Oliver Tacke - Gruppenpuzzle on Flickr. Use under the terms of the Creative Commons - BY (Attribution).


On Thursday, April 21st 2016 a Digital Workplace Meetup with the title “The end of hierarchy? New organization models of the future”will take place in Berlin at the "St. Oberholz Zehdenicker", which is supported by us. Detailed information is here.

We want to deliver content issues and discussion events with four short articles. There will be the following four brief blogposts:

     1.     Why the end of hierarchy will come.

2.     The era of corporate democracy  or: How Andreas Zeuch sees it.

3.     Wirearchy – So that decisions are made at the right places.

4.     Next Organization: Which organizational models are currently in vogue.

Following the Meetups there will be again positioning and a summary provided by us at Beck et al. Services.



The era of corporate democracy

Corporate democracy – say what? So one might almost wonder if ... - Yes if there actually would not be obvious economically reasons. This is certainly new in the current discussion, because the basic ideas relating to participation in the workplace and democracy in companies are relatively old. Or rather: There have always been alternative examples that show that something like that works. The concept of a democratic company however currently engages "an implication of digitalization of organizations whose importance can hardly be overestimated" (Hans-Georg Schauffer here). And with that captures the spirit of the time or hits the Bullseye of the digital transformation. Which is why Siegfried Lautenbacher naturally has also blogged on the subject a bit more detail here.


How Andreas Zeuch sees it, and ...

"I accompany companies towards more self-organization and codetermination." This is what Dr.Andreas Zeuch writes on his website. I have known him personally for a while now and had the opportunity to get to know him at a conference at the Evangelical Academy in Tutzing. Although it was primarily about intuition back then (especially for management), his view that it is important to find meaning in the work, which means to have a say, was already very pronounced. But since he did the empirical studies for his book "All power to nobody. Departure of the corporate Democrats" he has in my view really found his subject. Both on Facebook in a corresponding group, and especially in the context of presentations and events he takes on all possible occasions to convince the audience that this is not only an exciting model of an organization, but also an extremely successful one. Once you have managed the transformation there. He can show well on existing examples that it works and that corporate democrats are on the move. A good reason to come to his input to Berlin, I think.

Dr. Andreas Zeuch in his element. With enthusiasm and conviction he pleads for democratic companies. He knows very well how to present the case studies of his studies vividly.

Photo: Private. Used with friendly permission. 

... what we would like to add

Economically, or more accurately seen in terms of efficiency, the idea of a democratic company represents the fairly consistent continuation of the reflections on a participative management and collective decision-making. A Codetermination in the workplace and self-organizing teams does initially not necessarily ensure that employees or groups can participate in strategic business decisions. It is also essential to have a partial huge organizational change. Above all, however, and that is the reason for this small blog series, the resolution of the hierarchy goes with it.

Or in reverse: The hierarchy actually only gains their strength through a democratic legitimation (qua Placement) and distributes positions of power through it. At that moment, when involving all stakeholders in strategic decisions of an organization, there is no basis of legitimacy for hierarchical positions. In this respect, the hierarchy will reduce step by step. Or will almost automatically decline if democracy is actually the new blueprint of an organization. The fact that in an enterprise in the digital age decisions must be distributed and made differently, this consideration it shares with other new ideas, such as the discussions about Wirearchy show. But that will be the subject of Part 3 of this small series.

We are looking forward to a discussion – virtually or on April 21st in Berlin