Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Holacracy makes that reality easier to manage, not less, compared with management hierarchy.  Here's a simple thought experiment to illustrate:  If it really makes sense, you could create one role, named "Manager", and another role, named "Subordinate"; give the Manager role an accountability for "Directing the work of the Subordinate", and give the Subordinate an accountability for "Doing whatever the Manager says"; you've then recreated a very similar structure as a management hierarchy, all within Holacracy's ruleset - and that's completely valid to do.  Holacracy doesn't prevent you from doing things like that when they make sense to do; it's just that they rarely make sense to do, and what Holacracy does is force you to clarify the structure and evolve it to make more sense over time.  If it really does make sense to have something closer to that in part of the company, fine - have something closer to that.  Or if it really makes sense to have a "Mentor" role or something to focus on helping people develop competencies, fine, have that.  Or perhaps what makes sense is an "Expert" role combined with a policy that says no one may make certain major decisions without sign-off from Expert, but are otherwise free to lead their roles as they see fit.  Again, the point here isn't that any of these specific solutions are necessarily a good idea in your case, but just that any of them are possible, or just about anything else you can dream up (or evolve into).  Holacracy is just a framework to clarify how work should work and evolve it over time; you can define nearly any power structure within that framework that makes sense for the business.