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Special collection: "Fading Hierarchies and the Emergence of New Forms of Organization"

Many people find it difficult to imagine any form of organizing that does not involve hierarchy. Yet at times organizations arise that appear to have little or no hierarchy – few or no bosses, few reporting structures, and few rules to maintain control. Some of those organizations manage to survive and even flourish for considerable periods of time. They beg the question: What is the role of hierarchy in organizations?

It may be that hierarchy is not necessary in some types of organizations. It may be that hierarchy serves some organizational purposes better than others. It may be that small organizations do not require hierarchy but large organizations do. This collection will explore the role and form of hierarchy in organizations, especially in novel modes of organizing such as collaborative communities, commons-based peer production, temporary innovation networks, and boss-less organizations.

This collection endeavors to explore...

  • the role of hierarchy in organizations, and how that role is changing
  • the questions of whether and when hierarchy is necessary
  • how large and small organizations experience hierarchy differently
  • the multifarious forms hierarchy can take 
  • novel modes of organizing, such as collaborative communities, commons-based peer production, temporary innovation networks, and boss-less organizations.

Guest Editors:
Stephan Billinger, University of Southern Denmark
Børge Obel, Aarhus University, Denmark
Charles Snow, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Maciej Workiewicz, ESSEC Business School, France

Case Study

Navigating in a hierarchy: how middle managers adapt macro design

Marianne Livijn

Journal of Organization Design 2019 8:7
Published on: 30 March 2019


Field study of complements to supervisory leadership in more and less flexible work setting

Terri L. Griffith, Emma S. Nordbäck, John E. Sawyer and Ronald E. Rice

Journal of Organization Design 2018 7:10
Published on: 26 September 2018


Collaborative organizational forms: on communities, crowds, and new hybrids

Vegard Kolbjørnsrud

Journal of Organization Design 2018 7:11
Published on: 19 October 2018


The Journal of Organization Design is the official journal of the Organizational Design Community.

Annual Journal Metrics

  • Speed
    70 days to first decision for reviewed manuscripts only
    55 days to first decision for all manuscripts
    104 days from submission to acceptance
    25 days from acceptance to publication

    Peer review

    133 Altmetric mentions