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Flat organizations structures

Categories: BusinessOrganization

Horizontal organization structures

Flat organizations structures or models are also called horizontal organization structures and they are those organizational structures that do not have a lot of levels of intervening between the employees of the organization and the management. There has been increased uncertainty, choices and complexity in most of the organizations due to market forces like new rival competitors, advancement in technology, varying tastes and preferences and global competition. For an organization to perform excellently it has to be small, more flat and aimed at adding value to the organization.

This can be achieved by making sure that the employees in the organization are not divided by the separate departments but they work with any other employee no matter the department to ensure the goal of the organization is achieved. The idea applied in the flat organization structure is that workers who are well trained will be more productive to an organization if they are given more freedom in the decision making on matters concerning their work than when they are supervised by very many levels of management.

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This kind of organization structure has been as a success in specific units that are within a large organization or in organizations that are quite small. This is because at a certain size the organization is able to maintain a more streamlined structure but adopting a complete flat organization structure will affect the productivity of the organization.

Strict financial responsibilities

A flat organization may also not be applicable in organizations that deal with strict financial responsibilities, an example of this would be in a bank where each loans officer offers a loan at his or her own interest rate, therefore there is need to adopt a more convectional organization structure.

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In a flat organization there are few managers and supervisors so as to make the employees feel free in any decision making concerning their work. The flat organization management involves elimination of middle management layers in the organization and come up with a decentralized process in decision making.

In this type of management the feedback from customers and comments are able to reach to the decision makers more rapidly than when there is a hierarchical model (Mohr, 1998). This type of management also encourages personal relationships between the managers and the employees. Management of flat organizations also involves the use of self managed teams. These teams are able to manage their competency levels hence better results. These teams are created to enhance cross-functional of the organization and to encourage employee empowerment. The teams are built to be short term but they are repeated.

The teams are built with the assumption that a group of ten people can work smoothly due to the long term understanding of their duties. The group is given a chance to select the best members for the group and any individual who is not qualified in that opportunity is not included. In flat organizations there is a lot of flexibility in that a department may add or remove members without notifying the managers. The other key issue in the management of flat organizations is that the managers should not come up with organizational levels that are not important to the organization at any time.

Under flat organizations there is need to come up with internal punishment such as threat to terminate employees in case of incompetence. The employees in a flat organization are also supposed to understand hoe their customers uses the products and services from the organization. Another key issue in the management of flat organization is that there should be sharing of the risks involved and the rewards that come with the activities of the organization.


  1. Mohr, Ernst (April 1998), adjudication Culture in Flat Hierarchies, Available at SSRN: http://ssrn. com/abstract=100949 or DOI: 10. 2139/ssrn. 100949

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Flat organizations structures. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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