Is Having No Job Titles a Viable Organizational Architecture?
I’ve noticed that many of the most innovative IT companies seem to incorporate some seemingly unorthodox organization architectures. One of the prime examples of this is with Valve Corporation, in which there are no job titles. Whenever there is a new project, employees get to choose which aspect of the project they wish to work on. Valve employees appreciate this approach in that they can get their hands dirty in whichever aspect of the company they want. CEO Gabe Newell provided one example of an animator from the film industry who specialized in just mouth animations. But once he started working at Valve, quickly realized that he was longer confined to working on just mouth animations, but could instead work on whatever animation he wanted. This welcomes creativity among employees.
It may seem like this type of organizational architecture would result in not much work being done, or for there to be work that no one will choose to work on. However, Valve continues to create some of the most innovative and praised games, and their Steam market has proven to be an ingenious business model that benefits both the company and developers. Although not explicitly stated in the article, there are still employees who act as “managers” for projects. There may be no job titles, but there still needs to be some sort of structure and people who can keep track of the work being done.
What do you guys think of this type of organizational architecture? Is it always a viable option, or is it more suited for companies that strive to create innovative products and solutions? I personally think it’s a great approach for sparking innovation and creativity among employees, but also think that most employees will end up working on the same aspects of each project anyway. For example, in my group for this course, we each already have defined roles and divide the work to be done for each week, even though we could really work on whatever we want.