Tom Nixon, meet Elinor Ostrom

How does driverless work line up with the theory of the Commons? Let’s see

I wonder how Tom Nixon’s eight principles for self-management (or driverless work) lines up with Elinor Ostrom’s 8 Principles for Managing a Commons (from Governing the Commons (1990))?

Here’s Ostrom:

1. Define clear group boundaries

2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.

3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.

4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.

5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.

6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.

7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.

8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up [better translated into network terms, ‘from the smallest social scale’] to the entire interconnected system [‘network’].

Here’s Nixon:

1. Insisting on voluntary followership over bosses.

2. Valuing diversity over standardised organisational operating systems.

3. Focusing on creative initiatives over organisations.

4. Embracing hierarchy of purpose over hierarchy of managers.

5. Leading with creative briefing over rules, instructions, and permission-seeking.

6. Prioritising initiative mapping over organisation design.

7. Taking responsibility over giving responsibility.

8. Celebrating natural authority over assumed authority.

I’ll see what Tom has to say.

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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