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Checking in on Holacracy

By Steffen Maier


What are the pros and cons of this approach?

Let’s start with some background on Holacracy. Brian Robertson developed the system to solve what he saw as barriers to productivity, creativity and transparency.


With this system, employees no longer take job titles, but inhabit roles that create autonomy over their work.


Organizational theorist Elliot Jaques identifies three types of structures in a company.

  • Formal Structure is an organization’s charts and job descriptions. Formal structures are often out of date and/or irrelevant when it comes to providing clarity on where to focus or what to expect from others
  • Extant Structure is an indication of the way things are done and what is actually operating
  • Requisite Structure is what the company aspires its structure to be

According to Holacracy’s founder Brian Robertson, a tension gap exists between what it is and what could be. He believes that in a Holacracy focused organization, people refer to their and others’ job descriptions regularly, sometimes on a daily basis — because these descriptions contain relevant, accurate, and useful information on what to do and expect. As a result, three structures collapse and become one.


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