No More Bosses?

A Multi-case Study on the Emerging Use of Non-hierarchical Principles in Large-Scale Software Development
  • Helena Holmström OlssonEmail author
  • Jan Bosch
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10027)


Organizations are increasingly adopting alternative organizational models to circumvent the challenges of traditional hierarchies. In these alternative models, organizations have leaders instead of the traditional boss and teams operate using self-management and peer-to-peer advice processes. Although the adoption of these models have primarily been seen in smaller companies and startups, examples of long-established organizations that have adopted these models to restructure themselves and move away from their traditionally slow hierarchies are starting to appear. In this paper, we explore how seven large software-intensive companies in the embedded systems domain are adopting principles of non-hierarchical organizations in order to increase empowerment. Based on our empirical findings, we provide recommendations for how to manage this transformation and we develop a model that outlines the steps that companies typically take when transforming from hierarchical towards empowered organizations.


Empowered organizations Non-hierarchical principles Self-management Autonomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGöteborgSweden

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