The management of the New Moon Cooperative Cafe is broken down into committees. This allows us to identify tasks and delegate them to their corresponding working group. This is distinct from a typical management scenario for many reasons! A common statement made by those who don't have experience in non-hierarchical workplaces is “How does anything get done?” This suggests that traditional “top down” models are afforded more efficiency from the advantage of a manager being able to make decisions that will immediately be put into effect with an understanding of the overall direction of the group, which might get muddled in a larger discussion among co-workers.
In fact, our experience is quite the opposite.
Our decision to use committees in place of managers gives our organization flexibility and efficiency in dealing with everyday matters. In order to facilitate the average working day effectively, we have policies that are designed by our workers, for our workers. These policies give us a common reference for conduct and expectations while providing a similar function as a “boss” would in another business structure. Every decision -- from sourcing to pricing, from accounting to training -- has multiple people in each committee discussing and analyzing every detail the group can think up. They then collect this information and share it with the collective through meeting notes and weekly collective announcements. We give each group the autonomy to make decisions within the definition of their committee role, and ask that any entire collective-effecting policy be sent to the larger collective for approval. Committee roles are self selected, and we encourage rotating positions on committees and shift work in order to empower and give educational opportunities to each member of the collective. This gives every worker access to a broader range of skills and workplace experience, showing each collective member to be as valuable and knowledgeable as any “boss” might be in another setting.
We have a consensus-based decision making process, which can be explored further here. We value and support each other, prioritizing equitable labor practices and constantly questioning ourselves, our structure, and our policies in order to continue to resist oppression in the workplace.