Zappos, a successful online shoe retailer, has adopted a radical approach to management known as ‘holacracy’. This system eliminates traditional management roles, instead distributing authority and decision-making across self-organised teams, or ‘circles’. Each circle has a specific purpose and operates autonomously, with the power to make key business decisions.

Despite initial resistance and confusion, holacracy is now fully implemented at Zappos. The company asserts that the system fosters innovation, agility, and transparency. Holacracy also encourages staff to take ownership of their work, leading to increased engagement and productivity.

Critics of holacracy argue that it can lead to inefficiencies, as decision-making is dispersed and less streamlined. There are also concerns about the lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities, which could potentially lead to power struggles.

Zappos, undeterred by these criticisms, remains committed to holacracy. The company believes that this approach will ultimately lead to a more adaptable and resilient organisation. It is also hoped that holacracy will help Zappos maintain its unique culture and customer-centric ethos in the face of rapid growth.

The adoption of holacracy by Zappos signifies a broader trend towards flatter organisational structures. This shift reflects a growing recognition of the need for businesses to be more flexible and responsive in an increasingly volatile and complex business environment.

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