Is the Future Bossless?

by Knowledge@Wharton

bosslessThe concept of the bossless office, free of titles and direct supervision, is starting to make waves. Will your company benefit from a bossless environment, or is it a recipe for disaster?

Originally explored in the Knowledge@Wharton blog and recapped at HBR’s Morning Advantage, the bossless office is the subject of “recent articles in the business press” that have “extolled the benefits of work environments where there are no bosses and no titles, where employees decide among themselves which projects to pursue and which people to hire and fire, and where each employee is responsible for deciding his or her own salary, raises, and vacation days.” The drawbacks are easily spotted, however, as some decisions can take much longer without a single person to pull the trigger. The upside is a more creative, independent, and potentially more productive workforce who “feel a greater stake in the success of the company.” Until more companies experiment with a bossless environment, it’s tough to say whether the critics or supporters are right.