Summary of No Boss? No Thanks

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

No Boss? No Thanks summary

Editorial Rating



Management guru Gary Hamel threw down the bossless gauntlet in 2011 when he urged, “First, let’s fire all the managers.” The no-manager movement has accelerated ever since, and many organizations now give serious consideration to holacracy and similar flattening and decentralizing approaches. But organizational theorist Nicolai Foss and entrepreneurship expert Peter Klein question the empirical basis for – and the logic of – the bossless company. In an interesting and convincing article for Aeon, Foss and Klein make the case that, amid the technological and demographic dynamics of today’s business world, management has never mattered more.

About the Authors

Nicolai Foss is an organizational theorist and entrepreneurship scholar at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Peter Klein is a professor of entrepreneurship at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University and faculty director of the Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, both in Waco, Texas.


The bossless-company notion, no longer merely a fad, has become popular and influential.

Management thinkers such as Gary Hamel and Tim Kastelle have been promoting the notion of the bossless company since at least 2011. They argue that technology is facilitating a shift to flatter organizations, wherein the manager’s role becomes superfluous and wasteful. Bossless advocates point to companies like game developer Valve, retailer Zappos, music platform Spotify and auto manufacturer Tesla as examples of this new approach to organization.

In bossless firms – according to advocates – managerial authority, hierarchy and rigid structures are giving way to a largely self-organizing, flat, flexible, decentralized organization that is consistent with worker democracy. Managers have no role to play...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

Think to Win
Future of Work
The Transformational Power of Recommendation
15 Company Culture Examples that Deserve Your Attention
Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder
When It Comes to Culture, Does Your Company Walk the Talk?
Remote Work Is Here to Stay. Manhattan May Never Be the Same.

Related Channels