University of Oulu

Challenges of self-organizing organizations

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Author: Hyttinen, Jonna1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 59
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Hyttinen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-11-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Laari-Salmela, Sari
Reviewer: Laari-Salmela, Sari
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia


This thesis studies the challenges that self-organizing organizations face, as well as the role of control in self-organizing organizations. Even though the self-organizing organization model has been studied for a while now, there is no comprehensive research in looking at it critically. This study aims to understand what the factors are to cause challenges and how does the different form of control impact the self-organizing organizations.

The thesis begins with literature review of self-organizing, self-management and control concepts explaining the concepts on organizational and individual level, as well as the expected results and reasons for failing of self-organizing organizations. Control is also explained from an organizational control perspective and how does control show in self-organizing organization. In this study a qualitative approach is used, and data was gathered by structured email interviews and using blog posts as secondary data source.

As using self-organizing organizational model is growing, it is important that the companies know the possible challenges of the model. In self-organizing organizations, the different form of control causes the challenges. In general, people are used to the traditional model of control and in self-organizing organizations, the basis of traditional form of control as manager-subordinate relationship is removed and different form of control is needed. This uncertainty of how to act without traditional form of control is one challenge and another one is caused by different form of control, like self-governance control that does not have proper limits or norms yet. There are situations that would be easier to handle with the traditional form of control because the allocation of control and responsibility is not clear with the different form.

The results emphasise that top-down control causes the challenges, when people do not know how to work without it and how the different form of control should be treated. With the contribution of this thesis, companies practicing self-organizing organization model, can avoid problems by paying attention to the different form of control and create clear norms for it.

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Copyright information: © Jonna Hyttinen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.