2019 – Pentascope is a Dutch private company with which 25 people are currently connected, a “work union". These people offer organizational advisory services. Pentascope wants to contribute to a sustainable world and internally offer all employees a place where they can grow.

Workplace Innovation
entascope is innovative:
1. because the organization creates innovative employment relationships; a minority (6 p.) has an employment contract as an employee, the majority are self-employed persons and have a framework agreement about rights and obligations;
2. because the organization uses new forms of management and decision-making models. Employees and members are completely autonomous and coordinate their work in teams of four or five colleagues. All employees are involved in the decision-making on operational, tactical and strategic issues with an equal voice according to the principles of “consent +" and “deep democracy";
3. because the shares of the company are housed in a cooperative, in which employees and members can also participate;
 because the work association continues to experiment and develop.

What preceded
Pentascope BV was founded 30 years ago by 5 people from IT. The company has grown considerably to 350 people up to the crisis. In the crisis, however, many had to leave. In 2009 the company – then with 130 people – was sold to an investor. In 2013 – when only 15 people were employed – bankruptcy threatened. Then two (out of five) original founders took over the shares and placed them in a cooperative, with the consent and assistance of the 15 employees

Ever since its establishment, Pentascope has been a flat, open and people-oriented organization. During the crisis some pressure was put on that. But in 2013 the decision to take over the company from the investor who had bought it earlier in 2009 was taken unanimously in a long meeting of all 15 employees and the old founders, be it under great pressure of bankruptcy. Just as the decisions about introducing new employment relationships were taken by all.

After a start-up period at the start of the Cooperative, Pentascope has been running well since 2015 and is achieving positive business results. The employees are highly involved and feel co-owner.

Lessons learned
The cooperative is a much better form than employee shareholding, to involve the people in their work and the organization.
For clients and customers, a dual identity, namely self-employed ánd Pentascope member, is unclear. Now the appointment is one business card: Pentascope.
For the tax authorities, the constructions in new employment relationships that people are developing at Pentascope, are difficult to digest. This takes time, attention and difficult discussions.

Bilsen, Gijs van; Joost Kadijk en Cyriel Kortleven: ‘Yes and…Pentascope’. This book can be ordered via:


Themes: Labour relations, Flexibel organisation, Talent development
Sector: commercial services
Source: Case