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Are You Ready to Lead Work Without Jobs?

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Are You Ready to Lead Work Without Jobs?

We’re moving toward a system of work design that will profoundly change the roles of organizational leaders

MIT Sloan Management Review,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Managers and employees alike must advance their skills to adapt to a new system of work.

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  • Innovative
  • Visionary
  • Hot Topic


Organizational agility has been a catchphrase for years – but how does it really change the nature of work? Organizational researchers John Boudreau and Jonathan Donner delve into the future of talent management and the need for significant upskilling among managers and employees alike. It’s time to ditch traditional job roles, the authors argue, and radically reshape the way you work.


New ways of working will feature a shift from fixed job roles to task-based assignments.

Organizations are adopting new systems of work design to meet the need for greater organizational agility and flexibility. The main feature of the emerging operating system is the shift from fixed job roles to task- and project-based work. Individual tasks will be completed not just by employees and contingent workers but also by machines. Workers’ roles will be defined by their skill set rather than a job role, and they will move between teams to complete projects and tasks aligned with their competencies.

Leaders must display increased agility and coordination to navigate this new system of work design...

About the Authors

John Boudreau is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a senior research scientist at its Center for Effective Organizations. Jonathan Donner advises organizations about the future of leadership and organizational capability.

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