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posted by on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the socialism-at-work dept.

BBC reports

Do you really need someone to tell you what to do at work? Three years ago, Swedish software consultancy Crisp decided that the answer was no.

The firm, which has about 40 staff, had already trialled various organisational structures, including the more common practice of having a single leader running the company. Crisp then tried changing its chief executive annually, based on a staff vote, but eventually decided collectively that no boss was needed.

Yassal Sundman, a developer at the firm, explains: "We said, 'what if we had nobody as our next CEO--what would that look like?' And then we went through an exercise and listed down the things that the CEO does."

The staff decided that many of the chief executive's responsibilities overlapped with those of the board, while other roles could be shared among other employees. "When we looked at it we had nothing left in the CEO column, and we said, 'all right, why don't we try it out?'" says Ms Sundman.

Because they are all in charge, workers are more motivated, [says Henrik Kniberg, an organisational coach at the firm]. Crisp regularly measures staff satisfaction, and the average is about 4.1 out of five.

Last March, VentureBeat said

Crisp, a boutique consultancy company in Sweden, is made up of approximately 30 people, but none of them are truly "employees". They have zero managers; not even a CEO. Decisions are made through consensus, and instead of relying on some manager to allocate tasks, Crisp developed its own protocol detailing the chain of responsibilities when a new task appears.


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  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:28PM (#476755)

    You look at this tragic kidnapping in Sweden. Who would believe this? They’re having problems like they never thought possible.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:48PM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:48PM (#476764)

    It's the kind of thing that a market allows: People making bets on various ways of organizing resources.

    In my opinion, the key is to realize that this organization works not because of any inherent structure that can be written down and copied by others (despite their "protocol"), but rather because the people who are working together have developed a very complex, intuitive understanding of how to interact. The only way to keep this going is to keep this particular organization going, and to "train" newcomers (perhaps without anybody realizing it) simply by allowing them to learn the ropes (that is, to assimilate) through trial and error of their own. New organizations must "metastasize" from this original.

    That is to say, the market, the organizations within the market, and the interactions between those organizations (and the individuals within and between them) is a very organic set of phenomena, and it must be allowed to evolve by variation and selection in order to achieve not only novel approaches, but also ones that are robust in the face of changing conditions.

    In short, don't think you can just copy this. It's a lot more complex than anybody knows.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:52PM (1 child)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 08 2017, @10:52PM (#476768)

      There's another big factor here, and that's the nature of their business. This is a software consultancy. That type of business is rather different from most businesses, as you're working directly for a customer, much like a contract employee. It doesn't require a lot of management.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday March 09 2017, @12:18AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday March 09 2017, @12:18AM (#476795) Homepage

        They don't need bosses at work because they all have bosses at home - their wives' bulls.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday March 08 2017, @11:50PM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 08 2017, @11:50PM (#476790) Journal

      New organizations must "metastasize" from this original.

      Inherently so, because the size of such an organization is self-limiting around Dunbar's number [wikipedia.org].

      Larger size are possible, but a coordination framework (call of however you like, "chain of command", "hierarchy", "administration/management", "governance/govern", etc) becomes a need. However, this does not need to be associated with "power/imposition" - see Mondragon [wikipedia.org]

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:06AM (#476804)

      Your ignorance of what ALREADY exists is showing.

      In the Basque country of Spain there is Mondragon. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [wikipedia.org]
      That cooperative started in 1956 with 6 worker-owners and currently has 100,000 worker-owners.

      In northern Italy, cooperatives are as common as sparrows.
      This region [wikimedia.org] has them by the thousands. [googleusercontent.com] (orig)[1] [wikipedia.org]

      [1] The magic number as of this posting is "8,100".
      That's about 30 percent of their economy.

      Here's another region with lots of worker co-ops [wikimedia.org] (chiefly fruit producers, wineries, and dairies).

      One big reason co-ops are so big in Italy is that (in 1985) their politicians pulled their heads out of their asses and made intelligent changes to their national unemployment insurance policy.
      Professor of Economics Richard Wolff, PhD Discusses Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian Economic Theories (and Cooperatives) [googleusercontent.com] (orig)[2] [counterpunch.org]

      [2] You're looking for "the Marcora Law" near the bottom of the page.

      It amazes me how long these examples have existed and how many people are totally ignorant of them.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:32AM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:32AM (#476818)

      When society is organized around private contracts and not around coercion by governments with guns, no one will have a boss unless they want one.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:04AM (9 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:04AM (#476827)

        When society is organized around achieving the most good for the greatest number of people rather than nurturing a system which has a few wealthy individuals doing anything they can to maximize their profits, things will get a lot better.

        That is to say that the distributed wealth and power of Socialism is better than the concentrated wealth and power of Capitalism and its natural outcome: Oligarchy.[1]

        [1] ...according to Prof. Thomas Piketty's 696-page analysis of 250 years of Capitalism.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:24AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:24AM (#476830)

          Confiscate all the farm produce, put all the non-compliant cogs in shallow graves, such wealth and power. For the greater good!
          Serious question: How do you get into the privileged "greatest number of people" class of society? Can you fall out of it and revoked? Is this privilege transmitted by birth? Some kind of citizenship test?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:05AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:05AM (#476844)

            You blew it with your very first word.
            Collect your dunce cap as you exit.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Runaway1956 on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:46AM (6 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 09 2017, @02:46AM (#476835) Homepage Journal

          Yeah - because socialism has been demonstrated to work so well - in the Soviet, in China, and a couple dozen other countries.

          You do cite a number of cooperatives, then you move on to espousing socialism. But, cooperatives ≠ socialism. Coops most certainly ≠ as it has been put into practice in most communist countries. In a cooperative, everyone has ownership. The share of ownership might depend on various criteria, but everyone owns a piece of the pie. In socialism, no one owns any portion of the pie. The "state" exercises ownership, not only of the pie, but of all the participants.

          --
          There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:07AM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:07AM (#476847)

            Socialism is bottom-up.

            cooperatives ≠ socialism

            You just -insist- on demonstrating your ignorance.

            The "state" exercises ownership

            Spewing Cold War bullshit just reveals how stupid and easily-manipulated you are.

            Now, want to tell us how the Nazis (The National Socialist German Workers' Party) were "Socialist" and about the "Workers"?

            Thanks for playing our game.
            Your consolation prize is a dunce cap.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Murdoc on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:52AM (3 children)

              by Murdoc (2518) on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:52AM (#476855) Homepage

              Well you're both right, and you're both wrong. The mistake you both make (and most people seem to) is conflating politics and economics. Socialism is neither bottom-up or top-down, it's just generally more efficient when done top-down, other factors aside. The main other factor being politics, which can be either bottom-up or top-down, and that doesn't have to be done the same way as the socialism (or whatever economics). Conflating the two so that they are both b-u or t-d is what keeps those in power now rich and powerful while making the rest fight each other in a fight that can't be won because both sides have some truth in them that they can cling to and both have something false in them that they can attack in the other.

              But if you separate the two, politics and economics, you can find that you can have all the benefits of cooperation and helping people (socialism) as well as the freedom and democracy people tend to like in politics. Sure, it hasn't been done nearly as often as the other way, like the aforementioned examples, but those examples are well known simply because they do help perpetuate the narrative that keeps the status quo. Nothing's going to change until people stop the conflating and begin discussing things from that position.

              • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:55AM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:55AM (#476874)

                Socialism is neither bottom-up or top-down

                You clearly don't understand the term.

                helping people (socialism)

                You clearly don't understand the term.
                Socialism is a method of PRODUCTION.
                It stands in contrast with Capitalism and that method's absentee owners who do none of the production.
                In Capitalism, the only "work" the owners do is walking to the mailbox to get their dividend checks.
                IN SOCIALISM, THE OWNERS AND THE WORKERS ARE THE SAME PEOPLE.

                People here have repeatedly called things "Capitalism" which are not that, most often "markets" and 'entrepreneurism" and "competition".

                N.B. I have no problem with the existence of any of those concepts; they all exist in a Socialist system.[1]
                I do object to Capitalism's pursuit of maximum profits at the expense of a stable community/society.
                I object to Capitalism's overproduction and its resulting boom-and-bust cycle.
                If you had a roommate as unstable as Capitalism, you would have kicked his ass out long ago.

                [1] The Socialist co-ops already mentioned compete with--and often eat the lunch of--Capitalist-owned businesses.
                (It's just amazing what you can accomplish when you don't have deadbeats skimming off the profits.)

                .
                Folks here have also called things "Socialism" when those are not.
                State Capitalism and Totalitarianism are the most common.

                In this (sub)thread, you and Runaway1956 and the other no-name dingleberry are all trying to call State Capitalism "Socialism".

                The lot of you have a weak understanding of the terms you are using.
                In the case of Runaway1956, it's just his willingness to swallow Reactionary Cold War propaganda and a mind too weak to sort out the nonsense decades later.

                All of you need to do your homework.

                -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

                • (Score: 2) by Murdoc on Thursday March 09 2017, @09:50PM (1 child)

                  by Murdoc (2518) on Thursday March 09 2017, @09:50PM (#477146) Homepage

                  Socialism is neither bottom-up or top-down

                  You clearly don't understand the term.

                  I see nothing that you've said that refutes this, so on what do you base this? Well, let's go look up the meaning of socialism then, shall we?

                  From Wikipedia:

                  Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim to establish them. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective, or cooperative ownership; to citizen ownership of equity; or to any combination of these. Although there are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms.

                  So it appears that there are many different kinds of socialism. So perhaps what you should have said was:

                  You clearly don't understand which specific type of socialism I am talking about to the exclusion of all others.

                  There. FTFY.

                  Clearly you already know about the bottom-up types of socialism, but you can't deny that most of the types of socialism practised in the world today are indeed top-down. The USSR, Sweden, France, Canada, etc. All of their "socialist" type programs come from the government: health care, wage protections/wealth redistribution, worker's rights, etc. Even the US has some of these, being a "mixed economy" instead of purely laissez-faire capitalism. So clearly socialism can be either top-down [wikipedia.org] or bottom-up [wikipedia.org].

                  helping people (socialism)

                  You clearly don't understand the term.

                  I'll admit that that was a simplification, but look at what socialism generally tries to do: health care, wage protections/wealth redistribution, worker's rights, etc. In general, trying to make sure that people have good lives so that they can prosper, as opposed to the "every man for himself" and "dog-eat-dog" philosophy of capitalism. So really I think that "helping people", while simplistic, was quite accurate.

                  Socialism is a method of PRODUCTION.

                  Again looking at the above definition, it's a style of economics, which includes both production and distribution. Just so you know.

                  In this (sub)thread, you and Runaway1956 and the other no-name dingleberry are all trying to call State Capitalism "Socialism".

                  I don't believe I did. Where exactly did I do that?

                  Oh, and as for your comments like "dingleberry", "weak", and in previous comments "dunce":

                  They only hurt your case. [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10 2017, @12:54AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10 2017, @12:54AM (#477207)

                    Social ownership may refer to forms of public [...] ownership

                    Someone went to Wikipedia and started Begging the question.
                    What is being described there, assuming that there is *some* sort of feedback loop where the public can influence changes to the staffing of that stewardship, is Liberal Democracy.
                    This has already been covered.

                    N.B. In SoCal, there exists The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, a public utility.
                    If you asked most folks in that city if Socialism was being practiced there, you will get a huge number of "NO" responses before you ever found someone who said "yes".

                    The main characteristic of Socialism is empowerment of The Working Class.
                    If a paradigm does not include -that-, it is NOT Socialism.

                    collective, or cooperative ownership

                    That's redundant.
                    Not only is the question being begged, the writing is sloppy.

                    The USSR

                    ...was a Totalitarian gov't with a State Capitalism economic system.
                    Only those who have drunk the Kool Aid hold that up as an example of Socialism.
                    This has already been covered.

                    Sweden, France, Canada

                    Liberal Democracies.
                    Begging the question.
                    This has already been covered.

                    "socialist" type programs

                    More sloppy writing.
                    Quoting this crap isn't helping your case.

                    wealth redistribution

                    Liberal Democracy.

                    Wikipedia is occasionally useful.
                    In this case, not so much.

                    the "every man for himself" and "dog-eat-dog" philosophy of capitalism

                    Throw in "maximize profits at the expense of society"--as long as we're going to mention things that relate to Capitalism but DON'T define it.

                    Capitalism is defined by people who make money without doing labor.
                    Socialism is the opposite.

                    .
                    A pretty good description of what Socialism attempts to achieve is
                    Social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect. [google.com]

                    The best definition I have ever seen is
                    the extension of democracy from politics to economics through collective ownership and workers' control of production. [google.com]

                    My major source is Richard D. Wolff, professor of Comparative Economics.
                    He has a weekly 1-hour broadcast via Pacifica Radio affiliates and there is an available 10.7 MB webcast. [kpfa.org]

                    -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:58AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @03:58AM (#476856)

              Are you going to refute his points?
              Socialism is just communism with a bit more patience, still getting the helicopter rides.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @11:35PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08 2017, @11:35PM (#476781)

    "You're fired!"

    "No I'm not, you're fired!"

    "Make me!"

    "Okay, you two are BOTH fired."

    "Hey, who are you?"

    "Uh, I forgot my title, one sec..."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @12:47AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @12:47AM (#476799)

      > "Uh, I forgot my title, one sec..."

      This might be the story in a few years, but for now, http://dna.crisp.se/docs/index.html [crisp.se] says:

      None of the 30+ consultants are actually employed by Crisp (although we do have a few employed office staff).
              We have no managers, not even a CEO. Instead we rely on self-organization and transparency. Almost everything is bottom-up, and anyone can drive any decision.
              Crisp’s main purpose is to enable consultants to be happy, and Crisp Happiness Index is our driving metric. Strong revenue and delighted customers are a side effect, not a goal.
              Crisp doesn’t want to earn money from it’s consultants. It is in practice a non-profit company (although not formally so). Consultants keep most of what they earn.
              Our ownership model is designed to keep our stock financially worthless. There is no incentive to “cash in”.
              Consultants are 100% autonomous. They can do whatever they want (as long as they don’t hurt the brand or our house), and work as much or as little as they want.

      It seems like a stretch to call this a company, more like a shared work space. If it falls apart, my first guess is the last point above--a conflict over a customer, when one "consultant" tries to pinch work from another "consultant".

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:51AM (#476824)

        The "almost" in that statement bothers me.
        I would like to see an actual example of a top-down something which happens there.

        TFA mentions that they are required (by incorporation law, it appears) to have a board of directors.
        It isn't said, but it seemed to me that that is made up of Worker-Owners who were democratically elected and that it has no one from outside the operation sitting on that.
        As such, "top-down" doesn't seem to apply.

        None of the 30+ consultants are actually employed

        Exactly. There are no "employees".
        The term which applies is Worker-Owner.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:26AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @01:26AM (#476814)

    The original, as submitted, was simply from the socialism dept.

    The fundamental unit of Socialism is the worker-owned cooperative (or even the worker-owner).

    If you have gov't ownership of stuff, you -may- have Liberal Democracy or you -may- have State Capitalism or you -may- have Despotism.
    If you don't have worker empowerment in the workplace, however, what you have is NOT Socialism.
    Socialism is DEMOCRACY EVERYWHERE.

    -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 2) by snufu on Thursday March 09 2017, @07:10PM (1 child)

      by snufu (5855) on Thursday March 09 2017, @07:10PM (#477079)

      I find your anti-capitalist ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter and or blog. Please send your name, address, social security number, and a description of your typical travel patterns to DefinitelyNotTheFBI@fbi.gov.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @08:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @08:39PM (#477114)

        8-)   It strikes me as odd how folks here and elsewhere refer to "The Left" WRT non-Republicans when the people to which they are referring have not rejected Capitalism. [politicalcompass.org]
        N.B. Neither Nader nor Kucinich have rejected Capitalism either; as such, that chart has been artificially skewed to the "Left".

        The Red Purge a century ago and McCarthyism after WWII pretty much extinguished actual Leftism in USA.

        In the 2016 elections, Bernie paid some lip service to worker-owned cooperatives.
        He also said in no uncertain terms that he was against gov't ownership of the means of production.
        ...this while calling himself a "democratic socialist".
        (Even if it was true in his case, that terminology is redundant; Socialism relies on Democracy to work.)

        The Green Party USA also put a tiny thing into their 2016 platform endorsing the notion of worker-owned cooperatives.
        That bunch is another that doesn't seem to be too keen on the notion of gov't ownership of the means of production.

        ...and, heh, in 1987, even Ronnie Raygun paid lip service to the notion of ownership by the workers [google.com]--though he just couldn't break from his actual ideology and he still called them "employees".

        The approval rate of the idea of having a "Socialist" president gained a lot of traction in the recent election cycle.
        People may not know exactly what it is, but they know that they're not too jazzed about Capitalism and the way that that is working out for them. [google.com]

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:05AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:05AM (#476859)

    A true committee run company.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @04:58AM (#476875)

      You like the dictatorship where you work better?

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @06:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09 2017, @06:24AM (#476891)

    No more need for jewish bosses anymore. Send them all to hell.

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