Agility is now more than just a phenomenon in IT. Agility has long established itself outside of IT, in some cases even throughout the company. The first IT service providers are trying to present themselves as agile companies and are introducing a concept called “holocracy” in the course of this. But what exactly is it all about? As part of the research too Agility in companies, I deal with holocracy as one of the Frameworks for agility. In this article, I would like to describe the principle and its relevance for agility in more detail.

The agile company

In principle, the agile company is a company that has committed itself to striving to adhere to the agile principles. In terms of research, it is also a company that is agile outside of IT. An overview of agile departments see another article on my blog. However, agility is not yet precisely defined and so I try to define the term more precisely and clearly in the course of my research. But in short: an agile company is ready to scale classic agility and its principles in the company.

What does holocracy mean?

Robertson’s (2015) concept is currently on everyone’s lips. It regulates the management of organizations despite transparency, which makes it possible to get involved at all levels. It puts the purpose of the organization first, not profit. Robertson shows impressively how managers in a holocracy do not assume the position and the pompous status of the manager, but the role and the responsibility of the manager.
I don’t want to just use the next definition from Robertson’s book ( here is the current Amazon link ), but try to use the interviews that arose in the course of the research to explain the holocracy using the example of the illustration by Pfläging (2014, p. 59). As a reading tip: Pfläging published 2014 “ Organizations in Complexity “and the 2nd part in 2015: Complexity methods . Imagine a small 8-person consulting house.

Own illustration based on Robertson’s idea.

HolokratieAt the center of this little holocracy we have a leadership group that controls all activities and problems. Anyone who wants to get involved in the company can take part in it and play a role there. Various other roles have been set up around the management team, B. the business developer or the consultant. These roles can consist of one or more people and change constantly. If there is an effect from outside, i.e. from the customer, the respective group (the persons concerned) takes a corresponding reaction and makes a decision about it autonomously and independently. The customer would like B. award a new order and person X changes from the role of Consultant to the role of Sales. If desired, the management team can now support this person (e.g. looking for a suitable employee). As soon as the situation has been resolved, this person takes on the role of IT consultant again. However, a new group has now formed, which consists of 2 people (person X and the new consultant for the job) and is clearly assigned to the customer. This model is illustrated again in the abstract in the illustration by Robertson (2015, p. 64). So we have different circles in the company that deal with a specific topic that helps the organization. The entire organization is also to be understood as a circle. Aside from the circles, there are many different roles. As an employee, I can be in several circles and always contribute something to the purpose of the organization.
In this way, the company is controlled dynamically and is primarily oriented towards the purpose of the organization. Roles replace positions and hierarchy, and there is a lively structure above rigid organizational charts. So we are always able to change our current organization and react to any changes. We already know this shape from somewhere, right? Exactly – from biology. The holocracy is made up of different circles called holons that enclose other things. In a holon there are several molecules (roles) and a molecule has several atoms. The atoms and molecules in a holon do not change, but they can develop new properties through a new combination. This has worked in nature for millions of years. Just imagine that these molecules first have to ask a management whether they are allowed to reunite.
Reading tip: Extensive article on Holacracy and Sociocracy

Agile companies and holocracy

Holocracy and agility have a lot in common – the former can in any case be seen as one of the agile frameworks. However, the model is still very abstract and requires some observation and use case formation. In the course of my research, I will report on it further at this point. The focus is primarily on practical examples for implementation. An absolute reading tip for you is the book “ Reinventing Organizations “. Here, the author examines how organizations have developed over the past 50 years and what stage we are now at. I also have the key messages in discussed in another article and compared to the concept of holocracy.
[werbung] Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Robertson, B. (2015). Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World . New York: Macmillan USA.

Pfläging, N. (2014). Organization for complexity . Munich: Redline Verlag.



I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more

The cookie settings on this website are set to "Allow Cookies" to provide the best browsing experience. If you use this website without changing the cookie settings or click "Accept", you agree to this.