Spotify is the pioneer company of streaming music, founded in 2008 in Sweden. It maintains its position as leader, despite the entry into giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon, thanks to its capacity for continuous innovation, supported by a different organizational model.  The company employs over 2,600 people and adopted self-management practices when it was founded. 


Research Summary


This research, profiling Spotify, was carried out by Marina Martínez López and supervised by Professor Ana Moreno Romero at Grupo de Investigación en Organizaciones Sostenibles ETSII–UPM. Masters Thesis: Analysis of new organizational models and trends in self-management. Full Thesis.


Scheme of self-management Mixed: Parallel teams and nested teams  Value Chain Medium
Type of previous organization Start-up green
Keys to success
  • Structure in constant evolution to adapt to the needs of the company. The teams appear and dissolve according to the needs of the product and a continuous improvement is sought in the form of organization at this level.
  • Elementary unit: self-managed team that controls an aspect of the product from start to end, from design to shipment to production, increasing its independence.
  • Existence of superstructures: the tribes allow the coordination and alignment of the teams that work in related aspects of the product and the chapters allow to share information and knowledge at a functional level.
  • Size of teams (6-12 people) and tribes (100 people) limited.
  • Make the chapter lead part of a team, and only exercise a part-time leadership role.


Obstacles or inconveniences identified by organizations
  • Risk of knowledge loss at the transversal level due to disconnection between teams


 Disadvantages perceived making the case
  • Strategic decisions are still being made at the top of the pyramid.
  • Risk of becoming a matrix structure when exercising tribe lead as project manager and chapter lead as functional leader.
  • The flat structure of self-managed teams is not maintained at higher levels, where there are still intermediate management levels and staff functions: very heterogeneous global structure.


 CEO´s roles
  • Model within the organization, encouraging participation. Importance of training intermediate managers for the creation of high-performance independent teams.
 Wholeness  Yes  Evolutionary Purpose  Yes


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