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LQD - Gore-Tex Unmanagement Structure

by ATinNM Mon Jan 13th, 2014 at 03:41:43 PM EST

Here it is.

On July 26, 1976, Jack Dougherty, a newly minted MBA from the College of William and Mary, dressed in adark blue suit and bursting with resolve, reported for his first day at W. L. Gore & Associates. He presented himself to Bill Gore, shook hands firmly, looked him in the eye, and said he was ready for anything.

What happened next was one thing for which Jack was not ready. Gore replied, "That's fine, Jack, fine. Why don't you look around and find something you'd like to do."

Whether this is a paradigm for trains or power generation depends, I guess, on the comparative value-weight of actually getting trains chugging down the track on time or the whirly-things shoving electricity down some wires versus one's relative Power position in a Top/Down hierarchy.

Another company with an open-managent structure that comes to mind is Valve Software, which is currently trying to pull PC gaming away from the Windows platform.

Why There are No Bosses at Valve

Earlier this week, Valve Software--the company behind the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and Portal video game series--released its employee handbook to the public because, according to Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, somebody asked. "I'd mentioned the handbook on a podcast and one of the listeners contacted us and said, `Hey, can I get a copy?' So [designer] Greg Coomer sent him a copy and all of a sudden, it got posted online," he says. The handbook attracted a lot of attention because, in addition to offering company massage rooms and free food, Valve has a unique corporate structure rarely seen at such a large company: Valve has 300 employees but no managers or bosses at all. Newell talked to Bloomberg Businessweek about his company's environment and how it works.

Why did you create a workplace with no managers?

I was at Microsoft (MSFT) for 13 years and one of the things I did was go out and talk to customers. I ended up being exposed to a bunch of different organizations that had very different process models. As a result, I ended up thinking about organizational choices more than I probably would otherwise. It became pretty obvious that different types of organizations were good at different kinds of things.

When we started Valve [in 1996], we thought about what the company needed to be good at. We realized that here, our job was to create things that hadn't existed before. Managers are good at institutionalizing procedures, but in our line of work that's not always good. Sometimes the skills in one generation of product are irrelevant to the skills in another generation. Our industry is in such technological, design, and artistic flux that we need somebody who can recognize that. It's pretty rare for someone to be in a lead role on two consecutive projects.

by Zwackus on Mon Jan 13th, 2014 at 07:07:40 PM EST

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