When the horizontal structure resonates with the social project

Published on July 16, 2023


By Louis Chiquet.

New business enterprise models have good resilience.

do you like” Green washing »? You will like” Teal washing “.behind this queerness and this anglicism hides an often-observed slippage.

With the emergence of the horizontal organizational model (Free Enterprise, Deal or Holacracy), some saw an opportunity for brand communication and marketing rather than a real opportunity for change. Others go a step further: the horizontal system becomes a pretext for a social project that does not bear its name. Like this large American company based in the Paris region, it is announcing to its teams that it wants to break its organizational model and opt for holacracy. Unions Discover Pot of Roses: Holacracy is really just a sham, a code name that hides the real intentions of the US administration: to cut jobs.

And the example is not unique.

Recently, Facebook’s parent company Meta – announced a similar initiative in part Plan to make 2023 a year of performance. And performance should rhyme with horizontal structure. Funny bias because there is no proven connection between the two. A fortiori in a company like Meta that prides itself on being horizontal but at the same time maintains a hierarchical function. A situation that leads to Some wonder Especially if we know about the true motivations of this project Meta has cut 21,000 jobs in two years. Visionary and honest ambitions or a desire to downsize teams, especially by separating from a significant portion of middle management?

One thing is certain. The blur is in the actual intentions. What is the real plan behind the seemingly coherent rhetoric, beyond the declaration of horizontal organization?

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Panurge Effect?

As we can see, more and more companies concerned about their public image are forced to do something Deal (Frédéric Laloux) or in the liberated institutional movement (Isaac Getz). A trend that is interesting or inspiring, without any commercial dimension and without consideration of employees’ interests and location. Here, organizational change is primarily driven by a desire to adapt to the times and do like everyone else, rather than an identified need or challenge to move the organization forward.

Even to the extent that some decide to change their system when the incumbent gives full satisfaction. A height. Undeniably, these efforts are failing. Based on problems and vague or vague, abstract concepts, their abandonment is inevitably perceived as a relief by employees who feel lost.

Questioning the three-dimensionality of organization

So some companies have to abandon this naive and sometimes ambiguous approach to horizontal organization. A system that is by no means utopian, but represents the fruit of deep reflection that clearly identifies the company’s problems.

In fact, abandoning a hierarchical and vertical model for a horizontal model and wanting to reinvent your organization means renovating, in advance. The reason is threefold of the company. Why commit to a project that costs money, requires a lot of energy and consumes bandwidth? For what purpose? To make this effort is to put an end to discourse and display, to focus on the sublime and complex in one’s desire to transform one’s system, and not necessarily to use a horizontal system in one’s business. All that Employees don’t want to self-manage.

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There is no miracle here, but a desire to allow everyone to find levers to improve their work and, ultimately, the entire company. Certainly by relying on a certain number of tools, but above all, by questioning the values ​​and constructs of each person.

As we can see, it is time to put the church back in the middle of the village under the heading of organization. Starting with a basic question: Why does a system exist? Able to work together smoothly. Therefore, some companies with father-style management are more human than others, steeped in consensus at all costs. Business and human needs of the company.

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