BSO / Origin

Originally IT consulting - Global - 10,000 employees - For profit. A European information technology company founded by Eckart Wintzen, now a part of Atos

  • J. Information and communication
  • Global
  • > 500

  • Profit

Teal Practices

BSO/Origin was founded in 1973 by Eckart Wintzen in the Netherlands. In the following 20 years, he grew the company to 10,000 people, setting up shop in 18 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. The company’s structure consisted entirely of self-managing units, with virtually no headquarters and no staff functions. In 1994, the company established a joint venture with a Business Unit from Philips, a large publicly held company, that took majority ownership of BSO/ Origin two years later. In a matter of mere months, BSO was radically transformed as traditional management practices were brought in.

Wintzen recounts a decade later in a book :

I (became) a board member and gave powerful speeches to leave the system in place. But unfortunately - though not surprisingly given the perspective they came from - my colleagues from Phillips on the board pronounced the word "unacceptable" regularly and forcefully. In the eyes of Phillips it was ' "a deadly sin" ' to give people the authority to hire personnel or even just give away tickets for a musical. I believe that once we literally shouted over the issue until our faces turned red. The two worlds collided, one of strict financial procedures combined with "check, check, double check" with one of "have trust, have trust"[1]

Notes and references

  1. Laloux, Frederic. Reinventing Organizations. Nelson Parker (2014), pages 252-253 ↩︎