The End of Management and the Rise of Bioteams

Will the 21st Century witness the end of Management as we know it? Can bioteams succeed in creating a competitive advantage where top-down management organizations have failed? Business Process Guru, Peter Fingar addresses these questions in his column in BUSINESS PROCESS TRENDS this month.

Peter Fingar

In addition to offering a fascinating summary of current literature on bioteams, Peter also cites three actual scenarios in which teams made the difference between success and failure

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Peter's conjecture that the rise of Bioteams portends the end of management is intriguing, but can it be? What has been overlooked is how individual team members (not just the stars) survive or prosper in such an environment. How are bioteam members to be rewarded? Unless a suitable reward system is in place, it will be hard for a bioteam society to grow or perpetuate itself. Without a reward system, bioteam participation becomes merely a hobby pursuit. It needs to be a livlihood to be sustainable, otherwise it is just a niche in the milieu of its participants.

Presumably, ant society permits each ant to have access to the food store they collectively build. How might this work in a large-scale human bioteam-centered society such as is envisioned by Peter? People seem greedier than ants. How is the flow of money controlled and managed in such a self-managing society? It seems some kind of legal contractual framework needs to be in place. What does it look like? What about the golden rule –- he who has the gold rules?

What is your opinion, dear reader?

Stan Hendryx
Sunnyvale, California

Stan - thanks as always for raising some excellent questions which merit serious discussion

Not attempting to categorically answer them but more just fuelling the discussion:

In terms of rewards it makes me think about:

1) Tit for Tat as natures evolved way of making collaboration work -

2) Also rewards can be money, status or know-how – we are using bioteams with music fans ( and the bands reward their most active fans with all three:

Money = free tickets/music
Status = Badges and special events
Know-How = they get the inside track and know the good gossip first

3) It also makes me think of the importance of team beliefs (impacting motivation and motives) in any human team which is not a factor with Ants

4) The concept of fairness and how we judge whats fair is not as simple as it seems

Best Regards


I am convinced that the best and long lasting reward people get is in their intrinsic motivation. No money of this world would ever supersede you personal drive :-) and perusing work as a hobby (is that for you the antidote of working for tangible reward, Stan?) - this is a dream for a profit oriented entrepreneur anyway :-)


Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, and for not having the time right now for a more fully-informed reply.

Your points are well taken, and as I quote in my forthcoming book, Dot.Cloud,

... In “Co-Creation of Value—Easier Said Than Done,” Mike Karst, an agribusiness consultant, points out that, “It’s easy to say that your company is willing to co-create value with customers. But it’s difficult to make it happen.

“To co-create value, you and your customers must reconcile your different objectives and define both the effort required from each party and an equitable division of the returns from the project. Sounds almost too intimidating to consider doesn’t it? But ...

So, like in joint ventures or forms of vitual enterprises...

“In any joint project, co-creation or otherwise, you need to be very clear on the effort and resources that each partner must provide. In complicated projects, this may require secondees (people who are temporarily reassigned to the joint venture) from each partner that are committed to the successful completion of the project. For less involved projects, the customer may only need to provide timely and accurate feedback on the solution concepts and prototypes. Regardless of the project’s complexity, define the effort required early in the process and maintain frequent communications about the results of the effort received.

“Equitable division of returns means different things to different people. In co-creation of value, it means that you split the value created based on the effort and resources each party puts into the project, as well as risk assumed.

Wikipedia, Innocentive and other models vary fom zero to 'whatever.' What's old is new again in the real world of business.

Ken's book, The Networked Entrprise has extensive coverage of the precept you mention, "he who has the gold rules (employs)," and how TNE creates far more equitable fomulas. eg, a beat-up supplier in a supply chain, vs a full participant in a networked enterprise.



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