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This organic emergence of an informal structure is what many anti-management advocates use to justify their stance. They say there is no need for formal bureaucracy when people will automatically follow natural leaders and good ideas.

While I appreciate the philosophical sentiment, I think it's both a little naive and a little jaded.

Naive because in practice, there are real disputes, and someone needs to be in a position to resolve those disputes and keep things organized. When the structure is informal, even with great technical people (and often this occurs more often with great technical people), effort will often be spent on duplicate tasks, and the differing implementations will compete for mindshare internally. While that's not always a problem, there are times when the structure needs to be directed so that more important corporate goals can be achieved. If the employees can't operate with unity, they may find the whole company unified with them on the unemployment line in the not-too-distant future.

It's naive because good ideas are not always received well by self-interested actors, especially when you're dealing with people of mixed experienced levels and backgrounds, as any company with more than a few employees is. The manager's role is to make a critical analysis of the proposal and make what is frequently a difficult choice about what will be in the organization's long-term interest.

It's also naive because there needs to be a designated official who represents both you to the company and the company to you. That representation ensures you always have someone to voice your concerns and needs to. It ensures that you understand what the company wants you to be doing instead of having to try to pull it out of the ether, come out with the wrong thing, and find yourself in sudden political turmoil. It ensures that you have an appointee who can advise and represent your cause in sensitive personnel matters, and argue for the value you bring to the company. A good manager serves many very important organizational functions besides just determining technical direction.

Jaded because such a massive majority of managerial structures are so comically broken and useless, that traumatized workers don't understand how they could ever be useful for anything and just want to chuck the whole thing out. Believe me, I beyond sympathize with this, but I don't think it always has to be that way. This is part of why finding a good corporate fit is very important for the job seeker.

Any time you get more than 3-5 people in a room, a political pecking order will naturally arise. That force needs checks and controls to keep everyone safe. Benevolent, mindful leadership from good, fair judges is critical to the success of any group of humans, whether organized into a corporation, nation, tribe, family, or other. We can't discard that principle just because it's hard to find qualified leaders.




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