Flat organization

flat organization (also known as horizontal organization or delaying ) has an organizational structure with few levels of middle management between staff and executives. An organization’s structure refers to the nature of the distribution of the positions and positions within it, also to the nature of the relationships of those units and positions. [1] Tall and flat organizations are based in the organization, and are well managed. [1]

Organizational structure

In flat organizations, the number of people directly supervised by each manager is large, and the number of people in the chain is small. [2] A manager in a larger organization than a manager who is responsible for managing, helping, and supporting. Moreover, managers in a flat organization rely on superiors because of the number of superiors above the manager is limited. [2]


Empirical evidence from Ghiselli and Johnson suggests that the amount of independence managers in the field of self-organization can be expected to be more than adequate. [2] The idea behind flat organisms Is That well-trained workers will be more productive When They are more Directly Involved in the decision making process, Rather than étroitement supervised by Many layers of management.

This structure is only possible in smaller organizations or larger units. Having reached a critical size, organizations can retain a streamlined structure but can not keep a flat manager-to-staff relationship without impacting productivity . citation needed ] Certain financial responsibilities which? ] May aussi require a more conventional structure. A company would not have to give a raise or promote, based on service. Also eliminating certain departments from the payroll means saving money. [3] Some companies who? ]theorize that flat organizations become more traditionally hierarchical when they begin to be geared towards productivity.

The flat organization model promotes employee involvement through a decentralized decision-making process. By elevating the level of responsibility of employees and eliminating layers of middle management , comments and feedback . Expected response to customer feedback becomes more rapid.

Self-managing teams

A “strong form” of flat organization is an organization with no middle management at all . Very small businesses may lack middle managers because they are hiring middle managers; In this type of organization, the business owner or the CEO can perform some of the functions performed by middle managers in larger organizations.

However, some organizations do not take on middle managers as they become larger, and remain extremely flat.

An organization which has self-management teams, which may be of a different nature or may require a management team. This can conflict with people because Whose career path has expectations include promoting , qui May not be available dans le organization due to ict flat structure. However, alternative “horizontal” career paths may be available, such as developing greater expertise in a role or mastery of a craft , and / or receiving pay raises for loyalty . [4]

An absence of middle managers does not preclude the adoption and retention of mandatory work procedures, including quality assurance procedures. However, if a team is a member of the team, it is important that it be able to change the situation. Such changes may, in some cases, require the approval of executive management, and / or customers (consider for example a digital agency producing bespoke websites for corporate clients). If executive management is not involved in the decision, or merely rubber-stamps it, this might be an example of consensus decision-makingor workplace democracy at the level of a team – or group of teams, if multiple teams are involved in the decision.

The foremost example of a company with self-managing teams is Valve Corporation , which also has a rotating, non permanent, team leaders – which Valve terms “group contributors”, in recognition of the fact that the individual and leading Valve form a spectrum, not a binary dichotomy. [5] Generally the term of a group contributor is at most one project, after which time they (voluntarily) rotate back to being an individual contributor. [5] Valve also allows team members to work on whatever they find interesting. This is known as open allocation , and it can not be used at any time, no questions asked; all desks are on wheels to make this easy. [6]However, because new ideas may require significant resources, somebody may need to persuade them to find a new way of life. . [6]

Valve’s cofounder HAS That admis It has issues with failing to catch bad decisions early is due to a Lack of internal controls due to Lack of ict managers. [5] Prof. Cliff Oswick from Cass Business School , who has studied Valve and other examples of “non-leadership”, believes that Valve works because it is high-caliber people who are a good fit for the leaderless environment, and because it was founded as a flat organization from the outset, so that new hires always knew what they were getting into. [6] However, he warns that the peer-review -based stack rankingsystem Valve uses for the calculation of employee compensation, could become problematic if in the future Valve becomes short of cash. [6]

Other examples of companies with self-management teams include:

  • Qamcom Research and Technology , a Swedish specialist company with 125 employees active in the area of ​​communication, radar and automotive systems (40% PhDs).
  • Reaktor, a Finnish software and design consultancy with 400 employees and self-managing teams, and also shares with all employees. [7]
  • 37Signals , which has rotating, not permanent, team leaders. [4] Some other digital agencies also uses rotating team leads.
  • GitHub Inc. , which, like Valve, uses open allocation. However, in response to criticism, GitHub introduced a layer of middle management in 2014. [8]
  • Treehouse , which also uses open allocation.
  • The Morning Star Company , which has no supervising managers.
  • Marc Rich + Co. , Marc Rich + Co. used a flat management structure.

Related business concepts

In technology, agile development involves a large extent of self-management, which means that certain types of decisions such as hiring, firing, and pay rises remain the prerogative of managers. In scrum , an agile framework, team members assign to work by themselves or by consensus. The scrum master role in scrum is not a management role as such, but it is a role that involves helping to remove obstacles to forward progress, and ensuring that the basic scrum framework is adhered to by all parties, inside and outside the team – both aspects of the role being more akin to facilitationthan to top-down micromanagement . Agile frameworks such as these have also been used in non-technology companies and organizations.


Drawing on Jo Freeman ‘s famous essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness , Klint Finley HAS argued That “bossless” companies like Valve might Suffer from problems related to the Appropriate handling of grievances , the formation of informal cliques, the ” soft power ” of popular employees , a professional and sexist attitudes, and lack of workplace diversity . [9] However, some of these topics are the responsibility of human-resources , so it is possible original research? ] that an effective HR department could resolve these issues within a flat organization.

Suzanne Baker argues that new power dynamics can only be undermined by a non-hierarchical context. When a person places a position, Baker suggests that new hierarchies based on personality type, skill set, and communication style can emerge. If these hierarchies do not get acknowledged, it is much more difficult to address the emergence of a new hierarchy because they remain implicit or undetected. [10]

Mark Henricks, a business journalist and a critic of the flat organization, argues that “when you have too little hierarchy, decisions do not get made or are made wrongly by employees who lack experience, accountability, or motivation to do the work of the missing managers ” [11]

See also

  • Co-operative , in which organizational ownership is highly decentralized. Some co-operatives are used, but some do not.
  • Holacracy
  • Hierarchical organization – a highly hierarchical organization is the opposite of a flat organization.
  • Open plan offices
  • Sociocracy (Dynamic Governance)
  • Workplace democracy
  • Workers’ self-management


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Ghiselli, Edwin E .; Siegel, Jacob P. (December 1, 1972). Leadership and Managerial Success in Tall and Flat Organization Structures. Personal Psychology . 25 (4): 617. doi : 10.1111 / j.1744-6570.1972.tb02304.x .
  2. ^ Jump up to:c Ghiselli, Edwin E .; Siegel, Jacob P. (December 1, 1972). Leadership and Managerial Success in Tall and Flat Organization Structures. Personal Psychology . 25 (4): 618.
  3. Jump up^ “The Advantages of Flat Organizational Structure” . Small Business – Chron.com . Retrieved 2015-11-22 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Fried, Jason (April 2011). “Why I Run a Flat Company” . Inc.Retrieved 1 Sep 2013 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:c “Why There Are No Bosses at Valve” . BusinessWeek . 27 April 2012 . Retrieved 1 September 2013 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:d Leo Kelion (23 September 2013). “Valve: How to go boss-free empowered the games-maker” . BBC News . Retrieved 1 October 2013 .
  7. Jump up^ Appelo, Jurgen (29 October 2015). “The Fourth Qualification For Future Companies” . Forbes . Retrieved 13 September 2016 .
  8. Jump up^ Evelyn, Rusli (17 July 2014). “Harassment claims make up GitHub grow up” . Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 18 July 2014 .
  9. Jump up^ Finley, Klint (20 March 2014). “Why Workers Can Suffer in Bossless Companies Like GitHub” . Wired . Retrieved 13 July 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ Baker, Suzanne J. 2015. “Exploration of Equality and Processes of Non-Hierarchical Groups.” Journal of Organizational Transformation & Social Change 12, no. 2: 138-158. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 3, 2015).
  11. Jump up^ Henricks, M. (2005). Falling Flat ?. Contractor, 33 (1), 69-70.

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