There is growing excitement about self-management, bossless leadership and new governance models such as Holacracy for structuring and running organizations. The claims are often about the potential of “flat organizations”, which is often put synonymous to “having no hierarchy”. While the idea may seem enticing to many, there is nothing inherently wrong or bad about hierarchy. In fact, hierarchy does not need to disappear from organizations, but it might need to change.
Hierarchy is a design element that does fit into many, but far from all enterprises. And where there are better alternatives the corresponding feedback loops must be designed with sufficient strength and rigor to more than offset the coherence that hierarchy could potentially provide.