Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

How to Make Corporate Hierarchy More Likable

Corporate hierarchies are almost inevitable in many large, public companies given their size and the wide-reaching tasks that must be performed throughout the organization. The growing trend among employees is the preference of a flat organizational structure where employees are given more authority, independence, and access to colleagues throughout the organization. Unfortunately, the notion of a flat organization is often deemed impractical for large companies because the many layers to an organization allow for increased efficiency by focusing employees on specific roles and tasks. However, there are multiple ways to flatten an organization without overthrowing the corporate hierarchy. By instituting more business procedures, utilizing technology, and encouraging peer-to-peer collaboration, a corporation is able to reduce the span of control that a supervisor maintains over its subordinates. These practices allow subordinates to possess more autonomy in their work, while also reducing the power of the supervisor. Although there is not a reorganization of management or changing of titles within the firm, adding resources for subordinates to use inherently flattens the organization because employees do not have to climb the corporate ladder for the approval of tasks. Another way to change the perception of hierarchy within a firm is increased communication from all levels of management. The perceived distance from senior level management to mid and low level employees is reduced drastically when the parties communicate more frequently. To quote Elon Musk, “the hierarchy of authority and the network of communication in an organization need not be the same.” Finally, by informing employees of the purpose and importance of their work facilitates a flatter work environment by ensuring them that their work is crucial to the success of the business. All of these steps make employees feel valued, which in turn promotes a collaborative workplace that operates efficiently and reduces the negative aspects of being restrained by hierarchy.


One Response to How to Make Corporate Hierarchy More Likable

  • I’ve experienced working in both a a flat and a tall organization over the last 3 years and definitely see the benefits of a flat organization. At my current company the organizational structure is flat and because of that executives feel very approachable and many of the employees interact regularly with directors and VP’s . This has created a culture where it feels like everyone is apart of one team and there is a trust of the leaders. At my old job it was a tall organization and I saw it cause a lot of anger towards the executives. I remember my manager and other managers on his level regularly bad mouthing the executives and the overall feeling that what they do interferes with our work.

    To read more on flat organizations check out this link:

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