Valve Steams Ahead

Topics: Valve Corporation, Gabe Newell, Organization Pages: 5 (1355 words) Published: August 21, 2013

The 21st century rapidly changed society putting forth new opportunities and demands in a quest for a better future. With these elaborate changes particularly regarding the current sophistication of technology, the workplace has also been propelling forward particularly focusing on the way in which they are governed. An organisational structure is the process of arranging people and other resources to work together to accomplish a goal (Schermerhorn, 2011). However, what happens when there is no organisational structure? This is the theme of the “Valve Steams Ahead” case study in which this report is assessing. Using peer-reviewed sources and other research, an analysis will be made of Valve Software’s operations regarding their flat, unstructured organisational structure. This report will examine Valve’s emergent and spontaneous (Schermerhorn, 2012) structure particularly focusing on the recruitment of new staff and the training development of these staff. Once the issues have been identified in the critical analysis, recommendations will be made as to how Valve can best resolve these issues whilst maintaining their informal organisational structure.

Problem Identification

Valve Software has a team of 300 employees that all work together to create some of the most popular computer games in the world (Klemke). With the astonishing achievements and popularity of their games, it comes as great surprise to many to find out that Valve does not have an organisational structure and in fact refer to themselves as an organic and flat structure. An organic structure is a set of unofficial relationships among an organisation’s members (Schermerhorn, 2011). Basically, there is no structure and all hires must be capable of running the company, which is essentially the job of every Valve employee (Valve Steams Ahead, case study). There are no managers or bosses (Suddath, 2012) and the company states that they are averse to hierarchy or codified divisions of labour. A good organisational structure requires a few vital things that are crucial to the productivity and survival of a company. They need to efficiently allocate task assignments through a division of labour, and provide for the coordination of performance results (Schermerhorn, 2011). However, Valve employees choose their own projects and review other staff as a whole (Valve Steams Ahead, case study). Flat organisational structures allow employees to create interpersonal networks and benefit in task performances. However, the individual characteristics of the company makes it easy for people to work against the best interests of the company, feel excluded and carry inaccurate information (Schermerhorn, 2012). They have a “Valve Handbook for New Employees” (Suddath, 2012), which they provide for each new employee which states the guidelines and protocols at Valve Software. According to Doctor Harry Grey, one of the most difficult ways to gain and maintain clients is by having unstructured training (Grey, 2012). Naturally, clients want to become part of an organisation that has clear motives, teamwork and structure. With no hiring or training structure Valve admit that “a poor hiring decision can cause lots of damage, and can sometimes go unchecked for too long” (Suddath, 2012).

Critical Analysis

Valve software works within an organisational structure that has both positive and negative effects outlined earlier (Suddath, 2012). However, the CEO of Valve Software, Gabe Newell, admits that the hiring of new staff as well as their training and developing programs are a weak point of the organisational structure.

Hiring New Employees

With a successful and organized Human Resources department, hiring new staff within an organisation is a relatively structured and formal process (Schermerhorn, 2012). And with a reported 300 workers at Valve in 2012 (Klemke), the hiring of new staff is a vital and regular activity. According to the “Valve Steams Ahead”...
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