"We've experimented with promoting a few people to manager-level roles."
So they are flat, with no chief anything, but they have 'manager-level roles'? Am I missing something or is there a contradiction in his description?
Edit: Got it, 'experimented' meaning that they tried, didn't work, and they went back to flat. Thanks for the responses.
Besides that I find that even with no job titles or formal roles, people within a company tend to self-organize and take on de facto roles. The only difference is that it isn't formalized, and people who end up managing aren't being paid manager salaries or getting manager options.
Re: manager's options... We don't offer options so that's not an issue.
Past tense, too.
Despite the cocktail title, there still isn't a clear "path of authority" or anything like that. The buck stops at the partners, and the rest of us function like a meritocracy. The ones with a track record or expertise on a given topic have a respected voice, and there is always opportunity for expertise to shift or widen over time. It's that fuzzy-edged quality to the role that makes it feel experimental for me.