Zappos Does Away With Job Titles, Managers
Retailer turns to 'holacratic' model
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 30, 2013 11:09 AM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2014 6:59 AM CST
A screen shot from a YouTube look inside Zappos.   (YouTube/Zappos.com)

(Newser) – Online retailer Zappos is making a dramatic change to its company hierarchy—in fact, it's getting rid of it. CEO Tony Hsieh explained to employees last month that the company was ditching job titles and management positions in favor of a system known as "Holacracy." The term, which comes from the Greek "holon," meaning a whole inside something bigger, is about "self-governing." It works by dividing the company into some 400 circles; inside a circle, a worker can have multiple jobs, Quartz reports.

The system is "not leaderless," says a Zappos worker guiding the shift. "There are certainly people who hold a bigger scope of purpose for the organization than others. What it does do is distribute leadership into each role." With 1,500 employees, Zappos will be the biggest company to use the model, but other firms have already picked up on it—including, for instance, Medium, a publishing platform led by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. A leader at Medium notes, however, that Holacracy has its downsides. "It’s not a very human-centric model for things," he says. For a junior figure, "it can be difficult to ask for feedback or mentorship, especially when you’re new."

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Showing 3 of 70 comments
Jackov
Jan 7, 2014 11:22 AM CST
After years of climbing the mgmt ladder, this is the thanks that they get!
rmk948
Jan 5, 2014 3:30 PM CST
At Wal-Mart, the employees are all "associates." At banks, anyone with a desk is a "vice president." Sounds like a different angle of the same old scam - "pay them squat but give them a fancy title."
wartengu
Jan 5, 2014 10:39 AM CST
You can't be a leader until you've been a follower. Over 90% of leaders out there are not leaders, they're pretenders and wannabes. Many promoted Generals have never been on the front line.