3 – Introduction
Over time, since the human being
exists there were implemented several ways of governance.
In the beginning, humans tended to
organize and govern themselves as a wolfpack with no hierarchy, no long-term
strategy, just a leader who has the maximum authority, sets the direction of
the group and inspires fear and respect in the others. As we can easily
understand this has a broad set of limitations. In the first stage, in some
activities, humans try to introduce the concept of hierarchy and long-term
strategy based on stable and replicable processes and rules (armies, agriculture,
human history, scientific and cultural advances have also encouraged the
introduction of new forms of organization with new methods and objectives. The industrial revolution brought innovation,
and, with this, knowledge started to be seen as gold. As faster the knowledge
was obtained, greater the competitive advantage and the firm’s ability to
become profitable. This new model increases the development, innovation,
competitiveness and profitability.
Most recently, some analysts and well-known authors
have identified a dissatisfaction of workers in their work activities. This
leads to another change
of the paradigm, the introduction of the concept of family into the organization
was fundamental. Organizations begun to focus more on people, on costumers, on
employees, and profit was no more the centre of the attentions, although
important. Firms started to focus more on costumer satisfaction and value
creation. The employees also had a different role in the organization, the
pyramidal structure with extremely restricted rules unable the sharing of
knowledge along the supply chain. Employees and all the key stakeholders became
more involved in the activities and
decisions-making processes (empowerment). This creates a culture inside the
organization and increases the enthusiasm and engagement at work.
Nowadays, some companies are
implementing a completely new way of thinking. This assumes a
self-management model where no one is the boss of anyone else, no hierarchy,
everyone has their own role in the company. In environments with high levels of
complexity with a hierarchy all of this complexity will go to the top of the
As we can see there are several
models implemented by organizations, the latter one has been seen by many
authors as the future model of organizations. This model allows a greater
inclusion of each worker in the development of the company increasing their
motivation and productivity. As far as, if they are all competent for their
This could be true if we think about
people. All of this governance models have one common feature, they are
thoroughly focused on human skills, decisions and relations between them.
However, with the marked technological
development that we are witnessing, it is possible to observe a tendency in the
last years that has been accentuated. Over the last three centuries machines
have been increasingly replacing human labour in the most diverse areas of
activity. Nowadays, with the appearance of ultra-powerful computers, extremely
optimized machines and, above all, robots with
artificial intelligence, make us think about the future of the concept of
Will this model of governance be the
future of the organizations? Is it possible to apply the concepts of
self-management, culture, wholeness, etc., in a context of new technological
companies with artificial intelligence? Basically, the main goal of this essay
is to try to understand, explore and meditate about the appliance of participative
governance in the near future scenario of this increasing technological
paradigm, based on artificial intelligence and robotics.
5 – Participative Governance vs.
In this part, we will explore the recent
history of the organizations that we already mentioned in introduction and understand
the impact of the emerging new technologies such as automated robots and
5.1 – Evolution to
is a crucial point for almost all the organizations in the world to avoid
bankruptcy. However, this concept is extremely complex, it depends on a wide
range of factors. Not only on innovation, marketing, costs of production, etc.,
but also from productivity which has a huge link to workers engagement.
In 2013, Gallup Poll, a US firm of
research, noticed that about more than 2/3 of USA workers are disengaged from
their work and more a less 85% of the workers in the world are disengaged from
their work too. This data is based on surveys with more a less 80 thousands
Therefore, the motivation of workers
as a way of increasing productivity levels has become the main concern of
several organizations. As we said before, firms started to implement a new
harmonious culture inside the organization where suppliers, employees and
clients participate in the company growth and development. The introduction of
Agile strategy allows the company to be closer to the clients in a joint
development of their products and Lean strategy minimized the production wastes.
all of this, companies increased their levels of productivity. All the
employees were feeling more motivated in their activity because they finally
felt that they had a mission or a role in the organization.
the conservatism in this organizations still exists. Apart from the family
atmosphere and the empowerment of the employees, the firm still preserve a very
restrict hierarchy levels and privileges a rational, masculine and ego-focused
facet of their workers. Based on these facts, a new model of governance is
emerging according to Frederic Laloux investigation. There are some interesting
characteristics in this model, for example self-management, wholeness and
means that there is no hierarchy, everyone has the same power of decision,
control, etc. At first glance, it seems a little bit impossible to maintain a
company in the right way with this philosophy of anarchy. Notwithstanding, it
is possible to identify some natural examples of this. If we think about human
cells there are a lot of decisions, processes, roles, etc and there is no boss,
no hierarchy, just an extremely well-orchestrated strategy. Another example is
the global economy, there are a lot of people, products, firms, decisions and
once again there is no pyramidal structure only some rules. Basically, if this
model works well in a company it will bring to everyone the ability to change,
help and develop the company. The levels of motivation will increase. In
environments with high levels of complexity this allows to remove some of the
complexity from the top of the hierarchical pyramid and spread through all of
As we said, two paragraphs above, the organizations only explore one very
specific facet of their workers. With a restructuring of the company’s meetings,
the introduction of feedback sessions allied to self-management allows the
employees to remove the masks and face the work in the way they really are.
last point basically says that according to the purpose or mission of the
organizations we should not set a direction, we should just follow the natural
flow of the organization. Frederic Laloux define this concept on his PDF about
Reinventing Organization as: “organizations seen as having a life and a sense of direction of their
own. Instead of trying to predict and control the future, members of the
organization are invited to listen in and understand what the organization
wants to become, what purpose it wants to serve.”.
All of the three points seem like a
paradise for workers, they have more power, they can act the way they want,
there is no leader setting the direction, basically more freedom. Workers have
to be more responsible, more professionals and more wiser. They behave, in some
way, like self-bosses or self-entrepreneurs. And this is not an idyllic vision,
we can come up with some companies that have already started to introduce this
concepts (example: Morning Star, Zappos, Buurtzorg, etc).
We can resume all this in two images:
In the short-term and long-term, it
is a happy-ending for employees. But what will be the longevity of this model…
5.2 – The Role and Impact of New Technologies
Since the beginning of the first industrial
revolution, in 1760, manufacture has been replaced by machines. The
introduction of machines into the industries caused a reduction of human labour
costs, allowed the production of new products and increase the efficiency of
In this century, machines are
completely indispensable in the industrial world as well in the commerce and also
Very recently, we have been presented
with several advances in technology such as:
A non-programmed conversation between Einstein and Sophia, two robots
with artificial intelligence, in the Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal;
A Japanese Hotel (Henn-na Hotel) with a few number of employees, the
majority was replaced by robots;
Amazon launch a supermarket without any labourer.
Only to mention a few examples.
We can affirm that
there is a natural movement of the industry, the market of products, and
services, to abdicate of the workforce in order to have something more
standardized and efficient. What is the role of participative governance and
the new model of governance with this short-term possibility of paradigm’s
change? When does the robots like Sophie and Einstein, and their future more
developed models, will replace all the workers in all the areas of a company?
5.3 – Analysis of
Japanese Hotel Case – Automated Robots & Machines
we will try to focus in the case of the Japanese Hotel. The creator of this
idea was Hideo Sawada, the CEO of H.I.S..
How does this work?
clients enter the hotel and move to the reception where are some sensors which
detect people and activate the robot. This robot will host people and the
check-in process is totally automated. There is also another robot that will
carry the luggage and customers don’t need a key to access their rooms because
it’s with facial recognition. The hotel rooms have also robots that will adjust
the levels of brightness, temperature, alarms, etc..
creator of this concept of hotel says that “(…) in terms of being friendly,
they are unbeaten.”, in other words, this could avoid some problems related to
human personality, mood levels and so on. According to Hideo Sawada, the main
purpose for this hotel is to build an hotel with a high level of efficiency and
to decrease the costs per night for the customers (low-cost hotel).
only thing that these robots still not do is the housekeeping and cleaning of
the hotel rooms. Therefore, the next step is to create robots with the ability
of making this kind of stuff. Basically, step by step, the CEO wants to remove
all the human resources and create a fully computerized and automated hotel.
first sight, it may seem that in the near future this hotel will depend totally
and exclusively on these machines. However, they have no artificial
intelligence, no way of thinking and reasoning, they are just programmed to
always do the same thing. This incapacity of adaptations to new changes will
limit the success of the hotel if we think about a long-term strategy. We are
dealing with humans, in other words, all the clients of the hotel are human
beings and their preferences will change over time. In order for the hotel to
follow these constant changes of human preferences regarding the way they want
to be served, the format of luggage, etc, we will always need humans or
introduce artificial intelligence.
these cases, we can only remove the work done by humans in more routine and
repetitive work. We will also need some ability of reasoning to manage and
define future strategies and developments. Basically, the models still survive
with these changes. Some jobs will disappear in time, but others will emerge…
We will need more programmers, technicians, informatic and biotechnological
engineers and also managers, etc. And all of these humans can use the last
model to govern themselves with the last new model based on self-management,
wholeness and evolutionary purpose.
if we think about artificial intelligence instead of just automated robots, can
we assume that this model will still survive?
5.4 – Artificial
The development of artificial intelligence
began shortly after World War II, the main purpose would be to create machines
with a level of intelligence very similar to human intelligence. These machines
would have the capability of thinking and reasoning in a logical way.
a first instance, AI emerged as a way of reproducing human thought. It has now
embraced ideas such as self-improvement, creativity and language use.
main difference between classic and automated robots and robots with artificial
intelligence is merely the ability of receive information and interpret it. This
goes against one of the main disadvantages presented by the robots of the
Japanese hotel, since they did not have the detachment to adapt to changes, to
adapt their behaviours to the diverse situations, to innovate, etc. With this,
we could assume that artificial intelligence could substitute humans at all. It
is true that these new machines can give us a much more differentiated and
customized service than classic robots however they are not completely
creatives yet, they are programmed to analyse a limited set of situations.
It is possible to affirm that, at this moment, the machines endowed with artificial intelligence have some capacities superior to the human ones in rational and functional levels. At a rational level, these machines do not have memory failures and have every second access to billions of data that arvce embedded in their databases. If we look at the functional slope we can observe that these robots do not have problems in terms of fatigue, stress, etc. So, we can assume that very soon this AI machines will replace humans not only in repetitive fields but also in areas such as medicine, teaching, data analysis, etc. There are already a lot of AI robots that have the ability to solve complicated medical cases and diagnose the problems. So, is it possible to assume that in a very short-term AI will replace humans in all areas and participative governance will disappear? There is an interesting factor, this machines with high level of reasoning do not incorporate the emotional level. They are not extremely developed in some features such as persuasion, creativity, empathy and social awareness. Humans still have an important role in this fields related to emotional and social intellingence.