GitHub: exploring the benefits and limits of the boss-less organizational form
GitHub, a software company from San Francisco has been known for years for its unorthodox approach to managing. The company eschewed formal hierarchy and instead allowed its employees to work on projects that they deemed interesting and important. Many of the employees, including the founders, have for a long timed praised the boss-less structure as a source of company’s success in numerous blogs, presentations, and articles. One day, however, in early 2014 the company decided to make a sharp turnaround and introduced traditional hierarchy. GitHub 2.0, as we may call it, is a vastly different place from the point of view of how the company approaches project selection and allocation of resources. In the recent article in the Journal of Organization Design we invited some of the most prominent management scholars to discuss the GitHub’s case. Our aim was to understand the benefits and limits of a boss-less organizational form, as well as the implications of the radical reorganization for the company itself and lessons we may draw from it about general principles of organizing.