The “Boss Free” Company
Valve Corporation, a video game maker in Bellevue, Washington, is a unique company.
Valve has been “boss free” since its founding in 1996. The company has no managers or assigned projects. Instead, its 300 employees recruit colleagues to work on projects they think are worthwhile. The company prizes mobility, so workers’ desks are mounted on wheels, allowing them to move around and form work areas that work best for the project team. The person who comes up with a new project idea, then recruits other employees to join the team, may become the de facto manager.Footnote
Visit the Valve website and there will be a positive statement about the merits of a “no boss” work environment:
When you give smart, talented people the freedom to create without fear of failure, amazing things happen. We see it every day at Valve. In fact, some of our best insights have come from our biggest mistakes. And we’re ok with that! Since 1996, this approach has produced award-winning games, leading-edge technologies, and a groundbreaking social entertainment platform. We’re always looking for creative risk-takers who can keep that streak alive.Footnote
Would a boss-free work culture have a positive impact on this problem?
One downside of the business organization is the delay in identifying bad hiring decisions. How can this problem be corrected?
Are there any basic desires that would make someone a good candidate for a boss-free work environment?