The end of functional roles


Are functional roles disappearing inside organizations?

Yes, I believe they are. This is part of how hierarchy is fracturing.

Functions are based on job titles and roles in a hierarchy more than on skills and talent that people have.

A member of my 2018 Advisory Board in Phase 1 of my Gig Mindset Research said:

“When you eliminate roles, you start to fracture hierarchy. The culture, the technology, communication, employee performance reviews, and nearly every other aspect of traditional business structure is stressed.

“If companies have not developed systems to measure talent and skill inventory separately from full time employee roles, it will be difficult to transition from old school hierarchy, where full-time employees are tied to specific roles, into a system where you can analyze skills and talent that are available from both internal and external resources.”

He predicted the disappearance of IT and HR functions:

“Eventually we will see IT and HR fully absorbed within the business, as they are essential to daily leadership choices.”

Is there a new blended role emerging?

A few years earlier, in 2015 I wrote about the new (at the time) role of CDO, in a post entitled “CDO — A Temporary Role?”.
I remember talking about it in a workshop in Holland at a conference, and having stirred up a lot of reactions, both surprise and strong disagreement.

As I said then:

“The few organizations that have a true CDO report that the duties cover all or some of the following areas: customer relations, marketing, internal communication, external communication, knowledge management, HR, information management and IT.

“The CDO role therefore touches on responsibilities that are part of the scope of other functions such as the CIO (Information), CMO (Marketing), CKO (Knowledge) or the heads of the various functional services.”

I wondered out loud how the CDO role would interact with these traditional roles over time. Which would disappear? Merge? Which would fundamentally change?

Six years later, in 2020 leading into 2021, I see deep changes in functional roles. The case studies Stories from the Future in my book The Gig Mindset Advantage offer some examples. My Phase 2 research, which takes place early 2021, will provide us with some clues.

Drop me a message if you’d like to participate. My website or Twitter.

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