ValueFlat organizations may minimize overhead by assigning a large number of employees to each manager. Flat organizational structures may encourage a culture of cooperation where things are done without need of political power. They may also allow leadership to naturally develop within the group based on an individual's ability to motivate and influence others. Leadership based on social abilities may have advantages over leadership based on authority. For example, such leaders are typically highly regarded by peers allowing them to exert greater influence.
DrawbacksTaller hierarchical structures may enable a more sophisticated business strategy to be executed as middle managers have enough authority to run with strategic missions. Large organizations that attempt to run with flat structures often find that their industry requires a middle structure to manage a large number of strategies and operational demands.
ExampleAn information security consulting firm is mostly security consultants who work at client sites. Employees are typically self-managing types who don't need much hand-holding. As such, a single working level manager can manage 50-60 employees. The firm's strategy is reasonably straightforward and a small executive team manages it. The company has 12 executives, 10 managers and close to 600 employees.
|Overview: Flat Organization
A hierarchical organization with a small top, minimal or nonexistent middle and large bottom.