Organizations have varying structures, depending on the number of management levels present in a given firm. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages in determining the success of the company. In this essay, we shall discuss flat organization in terms of what it is, together with its pros and cons.
Flat organization is a firm that has fewer layers in the organizational structure or chart. The exact number of layers will depend on the complexity of the firm. For example, sophisticated and large companies are likely to have slightly more layers compared to a simple firm. In cases where an organization is simple and has a flat structure, all employees may report to the CEO or President directly, without the need for line-managers. On the other hand, multinationals are likely to have numerous layers because of their nature.
There are several advantages of flat organizations. As mentioned above, this type of organizations have reduced levels of management and may have just one layer. This is a contrast of tall structures preferred by most businesses around the world. Flat organizations have a short chain of command. In other words, an order from the CEO reaches the last person in the company within a short span. Moreover, this structure allows enhanced managerial control as the top most officer interacts with employees of the company one on one. Managers in flat organization further have wide span of control as there are more employees reporting directly to him or her. Since there are fewer management layers, small and flat organizations benefit a lot as they get the best out of the structures.
The second advantage of flat organizations as compared to other types is that they augment better communication between the management and the employees. On a general scale, these organizations uphold democracy and have room for innovation, allowing employees to be more productive and creative when performing their roles. Here, communication is faster and accurate, unlike in tall structures, where there are high levels of distortion. Because of effective communication, cases of power struggle are rare in flat organizations. Oftentimes, there are fewer people working behind the scene, minimizing disagreements.
Another advantage of flat organizations stems from the ease to make decisions. Flatter structures have higher degree of flexibility and adaptability as compared to taller ones. This implies that it takes shorter time to make a decision and focus on serving clients. In tall organization, bureaucracy is everything as employees, supervisors and line managers need approval before making a decision. This may jeopardize efforts to serve clients promptly. In flat organizations, there is power sharing and delegation to avoid wastage of time and enhance efficacy. Besides this, flat organizations tend to hire topnotch and qualified staff to allow this kind of management. This ensures that employees take pride in the success of the organization out of their responsibility. With reduced number of managers, a firm can reduce wage bill and concentrate on profit making strategies. A major challenge of flat organizations is that employees may have multiple bosses. The fewer layers in management may also affect the success of a firm, as managers perform more tasks. Finally, this form of management is mainly limited to small businesses.
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