For generations, many organizations have relied on hierarchical structures. Hierarchies arrange organizations in a linear fashion and according to their designations of relative importance. Authority is paramount. People are “over” others and ranked determinedly. Hierarchies create a level of order, but also are confining and can limit innovation.
A group named The Next System Project has been looking at alternatives to current systems and recently sketched a model for a Participatory Workplace. Their concepts are quite a departure from hierarchical models, with democratically determined compensation and decision-making and emphasis on empowerment and engagement of all workers.
Changing workplace systems is no small undertaking. It is worthwhile to be aware of what new ideas are out there and also to look carefully at what type of organizational system you want to work within.
Change is all around us. My guess is that we may soon see hierarchical structures begin to fade as workers become more independent, we increase our focus on balance and technology empowers workers at all levels.
What do you think?