All employees or specific teams.


Self-management is when teams or groups of individuals do not have a manager and delegate tasks and set priorities between them. The term is ambiguous and is similar to self-organising, with the main difference being that self-organising teams have managers.


Self-management is a key component in many newer organisational designs. Self-management refers to allowing individuals to take responsibility for their own tasks and priorities, and to allow them the latitude to organise and manage the way they meet objectives, rather than be subject to micro-management. Self-management can lead to associates feeling ownership and taking more initiative, but is also a way to remove the time wasted when centralising decisions and the resources spent on cascading information.


Self-management has various interpretations, but a few core concepts consistently appear when organisations do not to have managers and organise work between them.

One is that teams should be kept small, typically with 8-15 individuals. Another aspect is that teams should have guiding principles and a clear purpose, which will help as reference points in internal governance. The purpose is also a useful tool to attract and retain the right associates to the team. Self-managing teams often shape jobs based commitment, which means that jobs should be appealing and mutually beneficial. The purpose can be defined by the capability of the team (i.e. team’s purpose is to build an engine that can be loaded onto a truck) or the customer the team is delivering to.

While self-managing teams should focus on a single purpose, they can still get support and collaborate with other teams and functions in the organisations.  The main difference is that there is a reverse delegation between functions and production teams, meaning that no other function has decision power over the self-managing teams. Functions (i.e. marketing, finance, IT) must therefore develop a better service-orientation and rethink how they support self-managing teams. One approach is creating a Shared service platform, which enables self-managing teams to source services as they need them.