Our First Piece In HBR: Using Tech To Make Work More Fun

Joost Minnaar
Written by Joost Minnaar February 02, 2022

Some months ago, we were asked to draft our first piece for the Harvard Business Review. Last Friday, our article, "How Companies Are Using Tech to Give Employees More Autonomy" was finally published. In this piece, we highlighted some of the most inspiring organizations from our Bucket List. And it is great seeing these pioneering organizations receive the attention they deserve.

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We collaborated on the article with two great coauthors that are both respected experts on organization design and new forms of organizing: Ethan S. Bernstein & Michael Y. Lee.

Ethan S. Bernstein

Ethan is the Edward W. Conard Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the coauthor of landmark pieces like 'The Truth About Open Offices', and 'Beyond the Holacracy Hype'.

Michael Y. Lee

Michael is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD. He is the coauthor of landmark pieces like 'Self-Managing Organizations', and 'Beyond the Holacracy Hype'.

"New technology is not good or evil in and of itself. It's all about how people choose to use it." - David Wong
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HBR summarized the article as follows:

"While the dominant narrative about tech today is that human judgment is being replaced by machines, particularly far down on the org chart, the truth is far more nuanced.

The authors have conducted research into decentralized firms in which individual employees have more, rather than less, autonomy.

They found that in these firms it is precisely technology — AI, sophisticated data systems, blockchain, and so on — which enables employees to exercise greater strategic judgment.

For those concerned about automation and tech’s rise in business, this article shows ways that technology can provide guidance, supervision, and governance, while leaving a business’s most critical choices in the hands of humans where they belong."


The main "decentralized" firms (where individual employees have more, rather than less autonomy) that we describe in the piece will certainly be familiar to our average readers. Among the other cases we highlight include:

Check it, read it, share it

Did this pique your interest? Then please, by all means, read it and share it widely.

You can access the article here: 'How Companies Are Using Tech to Give Employees More Autonomy'.

Want to learn more?

Buurtzorg & Haier are also case studies contained in our extensive and immersive 6-week course at the Corporate Rebels Academy.

Our next cohort is starting at March 8 and we've only got 5 spots left. Apply now.

Written by Joost Minnaar
Joost Minnaar
Co-founder Corporate Rebels. My daily focus is on research, writing, and anything else related to making work more fun.
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