Another in the series of emerging ways of organising is ‘holacracy’.

The idea is to treat an organisation as a series of ‘holons’: autonomous self-reliant business units. We are familiar with thinking of a corporation as composed of different business units — defined by geography, customers, or products/services — but holacracy takes the idea one step further and organises each business unit into smaller autonomous units.

By defining rules for what makes a successful ‘holon’ (independent business unit), the originators of the concept say that organisations are able to become flatter, leaner and more adaptable.

While the jury is out as to the long term viability of this approach (does it simply replace one set of rules with another, which are less flexible over the long term?) or the range of businesses it is applicable to, supporters say the criticisms are misplaced.

With Amazon subsidiary Zappos taking on the approach, it certainly seems likely to be applicable in some environments. We can therefore expect it to be around for a while, and likely to evolve into further manifestations.

There’s a nice introduction here.

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