Published in Knowledge@Wharton Article
“Recent articles in the business press have extolled the benefits of work environments where there are no bosses and no titles, where employees decide among themselves which projects to pursue and which people to hire and fire, and where each employee is responsible for deciding his or her own salary, raises and vacation days. … A bossless office “is a very democratic way of thinking about work,” says Wharton management professor Adam Cobb. “Everyone takes part in the decisions, so it’s not being directed from above. …”
On the other hand, Cobb says, an office with no boss or manager overseeing the work flow can be disastrous. He cites an academic paper from several years ago that examined the fate of a small company whose owners decided to try and stave off bankruptcy by letting the employees run the company. “Over time, the workers became more oppressed than when the bosses were there,” notes Cobb. “Everyone became a monitor, constantly checking up on their fellow employees, even setting up a board to track what time people came into work and when they left.” …
Thomas Davenport, a senior consultant with Towers Watson and co-author of a book titled, Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization, says the model of being a boss these days is evolving into what he calls “offstage management.”The idea, he notes, is that “nobody comes to work in the 21st century and says, ‘Please manage me.’ They say, ‘Create an environment where I can be successful.’”"