No more bosses?: A multi-case study on the emerging use of non-hierarchical principles in large-scale software development
Paper i proceeding, 2016

Organizations are increasingly adopting alternative organizational models to circumvent the challenges of traditional hierarchies. In these alternative models, organizations have leaders instead of the traditional boss and teams operate using self-management and peer-to-peer advice processes. Although the adoption of these models have primarily been seen in smaller companies and startups, examples of long-established organizations that have adopted these models to restructure themselves and move away from their traditionally slow hierarchies are starting to appear. In this paper, we explore how seven large software-intensive companies in the embedded systems domain are adopting principles of non-hierarchical organizations in order to increase empowerment. Based on our empirical findings, we provide recommendations for how to manage this transformation and we develop a model that outlines the steps that companies typically take when transforming from hierarchical towards empowered organizations.

Peer to peer

Societies and institutions

Human resource management


Self management

Non-hierarchical principles

Hierarchical systems

Software design

Empowered organizations

Empirical findings

Process engineering

Hierarchical organizations


Embedded systems

Organizational models


Helena Holmström Olsson

Malmö universitet

Jan Bosch

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering

Lecture Notes in Computer Science

0302-9743 (ISSN)



Data- och informationsvetenskap