Doug Kirkpatrick: Beyond Empowerment to Self Management

Doug Kirkpatrick: Beyond Empowerment to Self Management 

Co-creating a self-managed organizational ecosystem is more than just employee engagement, business performance, retention, and less bureaucracy. It’s the right thing to do.

Is it really possible to run a company without bosses? The answer is yes. Morning Star grew to be the world’s largest tomato producer without any human bosses. The organization is run entirely through collaborative agreement. They have 2 guiding rules: (1) there should be no work done through force or coercion, and (2) we should all honor our commitment to each other. Running a company without human bosses and without heirarchy does present challenges. People can’t be fired because there is no command authority over others. What there are instead are collaborative commitments to each other.

The most recent Humanistic Management Professionals Lunch and Learn featured Doug Kirkpatrick as their guest. The event was co-hosted by Jennifer Hancock (author of several award winning books and founder of Humanist Learning Systems) and Elizabeth Castillo (Assistant Professor at CISA – Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University and affiliated faculty at the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment). Participants had the unique opportunity to listen and interact with Doug Kirkpatrick as he discussed the inner workings of self management organizations. The full video of this Lunch and Learn can be found below (link here:

About our guest: Doug Kirkpatrick served as the first financial controller for Morning Star, now the world’s largest tomato processing company. The founder introduced the startup team to the core principles of self-management, which they immediately adopted. At Morning Star, Doug learned that organizational self-management is real, it works and it drives superior business performance. In 2008, Doug Kirkpatrick co-founded the Morning Star Self-Management Institute, with the mission of instantiating organizational self-management principles with effective education, tools, and practices. As a partner in NuFocus Strategic Group, he now speaks and consults on organizational self-management theory and practice. NuFocus originated as a full-spectrum international consulting firm based in Canada, delivering client solutions for business strategy, marketing, operations, finance, international trade, infotech, entrepreneurship, HR, leadership, and learning systems. He does consult on this topic and you can find him at:

One of our favorite quotes from this Lunch and Learn:
“So imagine a world where everyone did what they said they were going to do. What an amazing world that would be. We know that’s not reality. But that’s not the point. The point is the closer we get to that, the better off we are as human beings–the lower cost, the higher satisfaction, all the rest with it.”–Doug Kirkpatrick 

Excited to learn more?
For a quick read, we recommend checking out Doug Kirkpatrick’s article on “12 Keys to the Workplace of the Future” (link here: ).

For a more in-depth exploration of the topics discussed in the video, you can visit our Store ( to find links to purchase Doug Kirkpatrick’s texts on “Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization” and “From Hierarchy to High Performance: Unleashing the Hidden Superpowers of Ordinary People to Realize Extraordinary Results”.

Our Learning Partner:
Humanist Learning Systems is our learning partner for this series. This program is being submitted to both HRCI and SHRM for continuing education credits and participants will be able to request certificates of completion. To learn more about Humanist Learning Systems visit:

Stay tuned to hear about the next Humanistic Management Professionals Lunch and Learn!