A flat organizational structure is an organization with few or no levels of management between management and staff levels employees. The organization supervises the employees and it promotes their increased involvement in the decision-making process. It gives each employee responsibility and eliminates excess management to improve communication and coordination.
Pros of Flat Organizational Structure
- It requires little supervision
As the employees have well-defined responsibilities, they will be able to do what they are required to do and this gives the owner of the organization an easy time to supervise the employees.
- There is clear communication
The information may not be distorted on the way as it is being taken to the receiver as the employer will communicate directly to the employees what he or she would like to be done.
- Fast in decision making
As there are no more levels of management, decisions can be reached very fast as few people will be involved in making the decision.
When there few management levels, the employer may not spend much as he or she will have little human resources hence cheaper in paying their salaries.
- It improves the morale of the employee
The employee’s morale is improved as he or she is able to work in a conducive environment and this may make the employees be more productive.
- Employees are independent
The employees will not feel that there are a lot of eyes looking at them so they will be responsible for their own work.
- It encourages creativity
The workers are able to be more creative in order to increase productivity in their areas hence there will be a lot of innovations that will finally enhance the growth of the organization.
- It is more flexible
As there are few levels of management, the organization may be flexible when it comes to decision making as it can easily change from one decision to another without necessarily consulting many people.
- More effective in small organizations
When the organization is small, the flat structure organization will be most beneficial as the employer will be able to supervise the working in the organization alone.
Cons of Flat Organizational Structure
- There will be little or no job description
Many companies that have a flat organizational structure would require their workers to do a little bit of everything and this may make the work not to be done well.
- It may hinder employee retention
The workers who have high skills always target to upgrade in the chain of command. If that is not done they may easily move to other places where they can be upgraded basing on their skills hence it is difficult to retain workers in a company that has a flat organizational structure.
- It may lead to power struggles
In a flat organizational structure, there is no clear definition of management structure hence when the senior person leaves the rest of the workers may start fighting over the position as they will know that it is vacant.
- The workers may not balance between the work and their life
As there are no people who are following the workers up and down to do their work, the workers may end up taking full responsibility for their work hence not balancing between the work and their lives.
- It works well for small organizations
When an organization is small it will be able to use a flat organizational structure as the senior person will be able to supervise all the departments easily. But when the organization is big, the structure will not be effective as there will be a problem when it comes to supervision.
- It may hinder productivity
As there is no supervision, some workers may sleep on their jobs and this makes productivity to be low in the company.
- It may lead to time-wasting
Employees in this structure need to talk to others so that an idea may not be duplicated as there is no order. This makes them waste a lot of time before they come to agreement on who is to do what.
- It may lead to poor decisions
If an employee does not have the qualified skills required to perform a certain job, then he or she may decide to leave the work which may, later on, cause problems in the company.
- It may cause confusion
As the employees do not have a specific person on the ground to give guidelines, this may make the employees argue on what is to be done hence bringing confusion in the company.
When a flat organizational structure is implemented in the company with good plans it may be successful. The effectiveness of the business will be positive when the negatives are looked into and dealt with in the correct way.