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What are the advantages of a flat organization?

I'm currently examining several organizational structures (we're a small company in the middle of a complete organizational overhaul) and I'm a bit "intrigued" about the flat organizational structure. What are the advantages that this org structure will bring to the organization? And are the benefits that it brings worth a complete organizational transformation?

Please advise!
asked 4 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

There is a good, but unreferenced article about flat organizations here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_organization.  I feel uniquely qualified to answer this as my career at a certain Fortune 100 company spanned years where it grew the hierarchy and then shrank it (along with the overall number of employees, which made for added difficulty).  My take is it is far easier to add layers of hierarchy than it is to subtract them.  The advantages of a reduced hierarchy are cost savings in overhead.  The disadvantage is the manager really needs to be a manager (is purely overhead) and has less time to spend on the actual work.  One of the best ways to accomplish this is through attrition.  When a manager exits for one reason or the other, don't immediately appoint a new manager (or worse yet two lower managers) but consider how you would fold the responsibility into an existing manager.
answered 4 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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