Flat Organization - Explained
What is a Flat Organization?
If you still have questions or prefer to get help directly from an agent, please submit a request.
We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Marketing, Advertising, Sales & PR
- Accounting, Taxation, and Reporting
- Professionalism & Career Development
Law, Transactions, & Risk Management
Government, Legal System, Administrative Law, & Constitutional Law Legal Disputes - Civil & Criminal Law Agency Law HR, Employment, Labor, & Discrimination Business Entities, Corporate Governance & Ownership Business Transactions, Antitrust, & Securities Law Real Estate, Personal, & Intellectual Property Commercial Law: Contract, Payments, Security Interests, & Bankruptcy Consumer Protection Insurance & Risk Management Immigration Law Environmental Protection Law Inheritance, Estates, and Trusts
- Business Management & Operations
- Economics, Finance, & Analytics
Table of ContentsWhat is a Flat Organizational Structure?How does a Flat Organization Structure Work?Academic Research on Flat Organization Structure
What is a Flat Organizational Structure?
A flat organizational structure means that an organization has few (if any) levels of management between the workforce and the highest-level managers. The absence of middle managers places more authority, such as decision-making functions, at the worker level.
Back to: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
How does a Flat Organization Structure Work?
A company's organizational structure concerns the authority, control, and reporting structure for employees. For example, in a hierarchical structure, workers report to a front-line manager. These front-line managers report to middle managers. These managers report to top-level managers. This structure generally creates a pyramid to represent authority, control, and communication.
In a flat organizational structure, there are few levels of management. Thus workers will report directly to higher-level managers. This means that the role of middle-managers is shared between the workers and the higher-level managers. It generally means greater autonomy and authority for the worker. It can also be more efficient for the organization to not have various levels of bureaucracy. This structure can serve to motivate employees who are more autonomous.
The flat structure generally employs collaborative work teams as a method of employee oversight.
For many organizations, the flat organizational structure is not optimal. This is particularly true for larger organizations. The flat structure can cause a lack of clarity on who is responsible and accountable for specific activities.
It can also be difficult for outsiders to determine who is the appropriate point of contact for any communication. Without managers who have final decision-making authority, employees may conflict on specific decisions. Competitive individuals may attempt to establish greater power or more authority than their peers.