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Today, we bring you a guest post from Jacob Shriar at Officevibe.  We love to give voice to those trying to revolutionize work.  And, we thought you’d enjoy this.  Check it out.  

taylorism-old-school-managementThis is a warning to all companies still practicing old school management styles. If you don’t change your ways, it will be disastrous for your company.

Employees (or I should say humans), are smarter than ever, and will not tolerate this old school approach to management anymore. The data totally backs up what I’m saying. Employee engagement is so low, that it’s actually kind of sad when you stop to think about it. To think about how many people go to work every day, unhappy and stressed out, there’s something seriously flawed with the current system.

Too many companies are still practicing a method of management known as Taylorism. Essentially, Taylorism is a very scientific approach to management, and while it might have worked in the past, when manufacturing and mass labour jobs were around, it doesn’t work in today’s world.

Taylorism had a lot of flaws, and was responsible for a lot of the anger and upset that you used to see in the form of massive strikes, and eventually led to the labour unions we have today.

The real problem with Taylorism is that it was a very top-down approach to management, and put way too much power at the top of the hierarchy.

It’s very well documented that power corrupts, so naturally most of the employees at the bottom were treated very poorly. It was only a matter of time that this style of management would change.

It was only in the last 5-10 years that there has been a significant movement towards using Eric Ries’ Lean Startup method. The Lean Startup method was originally only used in startups, and made sense, because startups have such limited budgets, they need to be as lean as possible. Once everyone started figuring out that it was just a smarter way to work, it translated into major organizations, and now Fortune 500 companies use this method.

More and more companies are going for a more flat hierarchy, versus the old model of a very top-down hierarchy. This is making the importance of team building and employee engagement stronger. The flat hierarchy is where there is very little or no management, and employees are autonomous and run their own lives. Zappos is the most recent company to make the switch, but there are lots of very cool examples of companies being flat. The Israeli army, Valve, Github, and Morning Star are a few of my favourite examples.

To me, this was fueled largely by the internet, the rise of crowdsourcing, social networks, and how humans interact in a much more distributed way today than ever before.

Some companies today are taking it a step further, and are implementing what’s called Holacracy as their management style. Holacracy is a framework for implementing this bottom-up, flat style approach. They have a “constitution” that really explains the guidelines for implementing something like this. It’s very interesting, and there are only a few companies doing this. Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter) implemented this for his company The Obvious Corporation.

It makes sense that as we develop as humans, and as a society, that we rethink and re-adjust the way we work. A lot has changed since the early 1900’s.

I wish more companies would wake up and realize how important this is.

Your turn. What do you think about flat hierarchies? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author:

jacob_shriar-150x150

Jacob is the Growth Manager at Officevibe. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn.

Categories: design, Liberation, Management

One Response so far.


  1. […] carrot and stick approach was actually originally from a management style called Taylorism, which is the worst form of old school management out […]

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