An office that adopts an ‘ad hoc’ view of the delegation of responsibilities and roles is becoming increasingly popular, especially for start-up enterprises and small team environments, in which people are often needed to take on various roles to ensure the needs of the business are met. 

Adhocracies are flexible workplaces that support individuals taking initiative. There are fewer rules and structure, which can benefit self-motivated individuals who are driven by their passions. However, the lack of structure can work against the development of businesses that require strong leadership to motivate workers.

When Adhocracy Works

Taking Risks is Rewarding

Creative, inspired and self-motivated forward-thinkers who are prepared to take big risks are often the same who reap the biggest rewards. People working with an ad hoc environment are seeking, planning and always looking around to see opportunities. The sense of opportunity at every turn makes working with such people exciting.

Workplace flexibility is the norm

Employees can work night or day, from an office or from home, on a train or from a cafe. It is the dream for many people to feel they can control their work life and the environment from which they work. The company benefits from lower overhead costs and satisfied employees who are motivated by their goals and not solely financial rewards.

Trendy Cultures Drive Industry

Ad hoc business environments have been on trend for the past 10-years. The idea of a team of inspired professionals who innovate, bounce and create a billion-dollar business has become more normalised in recent years. It is thanks to the normalisation of ad hoc working culture that so many businesses were able to adapt to changes in many parts of the world during the 2020 pandemic. Because of companies working remotely in small teams of individual professionals who are self-motivated, the tools for business to move wholly online already existed and were well adapted.

Good, better, best

Often, ad hoc teams are working towards clear goals – to innovate. An exciting new ap, an eCommerce like no other, a hat that hangs itself as you walk in the door – people in ad hoc teams are often very creative people who want to keep working towards their goals, then tackle the next challenge.

When Adhocracy Fails

Task Incomplete

In a team of motivated professionals who have no leadership or oversight, there are undesirable tasks that can go ignored. This lack of completion or delegation leads to the breakdown of systems that can undermine the success of a company.

No Ladders to Scale

Small businesses and especially those that adopt an ad hoc approach to management are often made up of skilled professionals, many of whom have reached the peaks of their career opportunities. This means that there are few opportunities for apprentices or learning on the job for those who would like to join such a company, and for those in the company, there is often no upward mobility, because there is no mobility. A lack of new talent can also mean stagnation of ideas if employees are not engaged with changes in their field.

A Lot to Lose

Change, flexibility and adaptability are at the core of any ad hoc-style business. For those who need stability, assurance and a clear vision of the future, this dynamic style can be difficult to adapt to. One day the business could be thriving and expanding into new markets, the next it is contracting at such a fast pace that it is clear pay cuts are required to stay afloat. This can take a toll on those who need a routine to feel safe.

Who’s The Boss?

Some people need direction. For those people, an ad hoc culture is very confronting. Without oversight, praise and guidance, how does one know what work to do, and if it is any good? People who lack confidence in their professional skills, or those who do not have experience in their profession to draw from, find an ad hoc culture confronting and are likely to fail without oversight from a leader.