Levels of Organisational Development - Level 6 - Self-organisation and self-development
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Levels of Organisational Development – Level 6 – Self-organisation and self-development


Level 6: Self-organisation and self-development

Level 1 – Formation

Level 2 – Formalisation

Level 3 – Integration

Level 4 – Expansion

Level 5 – Coordination


The distinctive features of the self-organisation and self-development level of organisational development, otherwise known as a holacracy, is characterised by: –

a)    A reduction in central control and management.

b)    The primacy of roles as opposed to job specifications. One person can fulfil a series of roles. The roles are defined by work teams and will change as requirements change.

c)    Based on circles of practice which are self-organising (not-self-directing in so far as they need to fit with the mission of the organisation) and not controlled by external hierarchy for day-to-day organisation. They are allowed to self organise to best achieve their goals.

d)    Each circle is assigned clear areas of accountability and a clear purpose.

e)    There is a defined governance structure and what is termed integrative decision making, which is a structured approach creating change and giving voice.

f)      Processes for aligning teams and circles around operational needs and for collective and integrated work.

g)    A blanket authority to take any action needed to perform the work required. This allows for innovation and change within the abilities of the organisation (resources, other circles missions and work etc.).

h)    Open communications within and without the circles.


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Critical success factors

The self-organisation and self-developing level of organisational development has the following critical success factors:

The maximum delegation of authority, accountability and decision-making to the lowest practicable level of management and ownership.
The ability of the ground floor staff to respond quickly to the needs of the customer / client / environment.
The rapid flow of pertinent information to the right place / level of authority.
A direct connection between results and remuneration at all levels as opposed to pay grades.
These levels of organisational development are incredibly useful and strongly suggest very different leadership, management, HR, OD and L&D thinking and responses dependent on the level of development the organisation is in and is transitioning towards.

Beyond that the researchers found that the organisations that were best able to deal with rapidly changing external environments were those at levels 1 and 6.


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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page