Valve Corporation: Composing Internal Markets

Article English OPEN
Todd R. Zenger (2015)
  • Publisher: Organizational Design Community
  • Journal: Journal of Organization Design (issn: 2245-408X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.7146/jod.20155
  • Subject: self-organizing teams | Management. Industrial management | non-hierarchical organizations | HD28-70 | organizational forms | boss-less organizations | new forms of organizing
    acm: ComputingMilieux_THECOMPUTINGPROFESSION

Discussions of the Valve Corporation are always enlightening. The skeptic wonders how much is rhetoric and recruiting ploy and how much is real. Is there clear evidence that this organizational design actually works – that it is efficient in this setting? While revenues per employee are quite remarkable, cause and effect are unclear. Is “boss-less-ness” the cause of high sales per employee or simply the result of high sales per employee, fueled from earlier success? The same question could be asked of Google’s unusual organizational approach. Is Google’s success the result of its extensive autonomy granted to employees, or is its past success the enabling cause of such autonomy? Such questions, of course, are empirically unanswerable here. I therefore set them aside and assume this organizational specimen is efficient – well-suited to its environment – and proceed with further commentary.
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