The Bulletin

Coming soon: A billion-dollar company, with no managers

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Zappos, the billion-dollar online retailer, is set to become the largest company to implement the Holacracy corporate structure, which flattens corporate hierarchy. That's right: no managers, no job titles.

Instead, as Aimee Groth reports at Quartz, employees will be responsible for various tasks in one of the company's 400 "circles." "This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal," Groth writes.

The rollout of the structural change will be complete by December 2014. But will it be complete chaos when Zappos makes the transition to Holacracy? Not exactly, as Alexis Gonzales-Black, Zappos' leader of the Holacracy transition tells Quartz.

"One of the core principles is people taking personal accountability for their work. It’s not leaderless. 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. Everybody is expected to lead and be an entrepreneur in their own roles, and Holacracy empowers them to do so."

Of course, Holacracy ideals are easier said than implemented, especially for the CEO, who has to get used to relinquishing a significant amount of power.

And that's why it's a structure that just isn't implemented on such a radical scale in larger companies. A startup, maybe? A company with 1,500 employees, unheard of. Even more important, will this idea spread through the corporate world if it proves successful at Zappos?  

Read more: Quartz

Photo: Flickr/theritters

— By on January 2, 2014, 10:34 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure