Advertisement

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)

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Empowered organizations Non-hierarchical principles Self-management Autonomy 

References

  1. 1.
    Malone, T.W.: Modeling coordination in organizations and markets. Manage. Sci. 33(10), 1317–1332 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Laloux, F.: Reinventing organizations. Nelson Parker, Brussels (2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Larman, C., Vodde, B.: Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum. Addison-Wesley, Upper Saddle River (2010)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leffingwell, D.: Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises. Addison-Wesley, Upper Saddle River (2007)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Robertson, B.J.: Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World. Henry Holt and Company, New York (2015)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Endenburg, G.: Sociocracy. The Organization of Decision-Making ‘No Objection’ as the Principle of Sociocracy. Eburon, Delft (1998)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ismail, S., Malone, M.S., Van Guest, Y.: Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper than Yours (and What to Do About It). Diversion Books, New York (2014)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mintzberg, H.: Structure in fives: a synthesis of the research on organisation design. Manage. Sci. 26(3), 322–341 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mintzberg, H.: Designing Effective Organizations. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey (1983)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eckstein, J.: Agile Software Development in the Large: Diving into the Deep. Dorset House, New York (2004)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
    Highsmith, J., Cockburn, A.: Agile software development: the business of innovation. In: Software Management, pp. 120–122 (2001)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yin, R.K.: Case study research. Design and Methods, 3rd edn. Sage, London (2003)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Maxwell, J.A.: Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, 2nd edn. SAGE Publications, Thousands Oaks (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Adler, P.A., Adler, P.: Observational Techniques. In: Denzin, N.K., Lincoln, Y. (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research, pp. 377–393. Sage, Thousand Oaks (1994)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ebert, C., Jones, C.: Embedded software: facts, figures, and future. Computer 42(4), 42–52 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ries, E.: The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses. Penguin Group, London (2011)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Olsson, H.H., Alahyari, H., Bosch, J.: Climbing the “Stairway to Heaven”: a multiple-case study exploring barriers in the transition from agile development towards continuous deployment of software. In: Proceedings of the 38th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications, Cesme, Izmir, Turkey, 5–7 September 2012Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations