I wrote my first piece on workplace democracy in 1978. Over the next two decades I was an active and passionate part of the movement to institute self-organizing teams, often with great success.
Today, various versions of dismantling hierarchy are emerging in high and low profile companies. They are learning that it's not a naive extraction of hierarchy. It is far more than that. It's creating a whole new way of working. It is changing the nature of work.
They are also learning how incredibly and insidiously dysfunctional hierarchy is in this digital era where we are smarter and better together as collaborators rather than in parent-child relationships. Until they make the transition into an adult collaborative culture, they constrain their potentials with the delusion that performance and attitude problems are reflections of the character flaws of employees and failed hiring protocols when in fact they are the natural symptoms of hierarchy.
Each organization needs to craft its own agile and iterative pathways from parent-child hierarchical cultures to adult collaborative cultures. It takes great passion, vision, courage, intention and focus. And it is possible.