How Mercedes-Benz addresses digital transformation using Holacracy

Ackermann, Malte; Schell, Sabrina; Kopp, Susanne (2021). How Mercedes-Benz addresses digital transformation using Holacracy Journal of Organizational Change Management, 34(7), pp. 1285-1299. Emerald 10.1108/JOCM-12-2020-0395

[img] Text
10-1108_JOCM-12-2020-0395.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (869kB) | Request a copy

Purpose – Firms are challenged by digital transformation, as their organizational design is not up to par., a 100% subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG Daimler group, employs Holacracy, a selfmanagement framework that abolishes traditional hierarchies in order to be more responsive to changes. This paper aims to explore how utilizes Holacracy in order to address the challenges posed by digital transformation. Design/methodology/approach – Using qualitative expert interviews, the authors show that organizational life becomes more meaningful but also more engaging and demanding. The authors highlight that agile principles can be embedded in the organizational structure, a strong contrast to conventional management design. Decision-making authority and accountability is decentralized toward employees who face operational realities. This fosters commitment but might prolong the decision process. Leadership seems to be fairly contextual, and career paths are fundamentally different; development avenues are rather functional. Findings – The authors conclude that Holacracy seems suitable for industries where the need for adaptability outweighs the need for reliability. It leads to increased transparency and accountability but is not a ready-made solution and requires ample resources. Originality/value – This study is one of the first that qualitatively assess the changes, implications and outcomes of organizations that employ Holacracy. Keywords Digital work, Organizational design, Holacracy, Self-management Paper type Research paper

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School


Ackermann, Malte;
Schell, Sabrina0000-0002-4694-7713 and
Kopp, Susanne








Sabrina Schell

Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2022 09:55

Last Modified:

09 Feb 2022 09:55

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Provide Feedback