One of my main research interests at the moment is the question of how companies can become more self-organized and better tap into intrinsic motivation of employees. We have numerous case examples (such as Buurtzorg, a Dutch home care organization) of companies operating in a self-organized way, documented for example by Frederic Laloux in his book “Reinventing Organizations”. However, we lack an empirical and theoretical perspective on how organizations can make the switch from the traditional hierarchical form of organization (think managers, incentives, controlling, function-based organizations and top-down strategy planning) to self-organizing.
I’m currently in the process of finding companies that desire to make the transition and would allow me access to observe the journey. At the moment I have two companies that have fully signed up (in home care and IT services), and a handful of others still considering if they are ready for the ride.
While my end goal is to write a detailed journal article and related practical advice on becoming self-organized, I recently had an interesting discussion with a colleague who recommended to explicitly write down the starting assumptions and hypotheses, so that I could observe and reflect on how my thinking evolves.
I hope to follow up this post with a more detailed one explaining the assumptions and current thoughts I have on the topic!