Tall vs Flat Organisational structures. Image credit Huffingtonpost.com

Tall vs Flat Organisational structures. Image credit Huffingtonpost.com

ZIMSEC O Level Business Studies Notes: Tall and Flat organisational structures

  • Organisational structures can also, among other terms and ways, be described as either tall or flat
  • This is done by looking at the layers of authority in the organisation’s hierarchy
  • As well as the distance between the topmost employee at the lowest ranked employee
An example of a tall organisational structure.

An example of a tall organisational structure.

  • A tall organisational structure is one that has a relatively high number of levels in its hierarchy of authority
  • It is more bureaucratic in nature as there are many layers of authority separating the topmost officials from the bottom most employee
  • In a tall organisation there are a considerable number of middle level positions between the highest and lowest ranked employees
  • Large organisations tend to have a tall structure in order to deal with the complex scope of operations
  • It lends itself easily to tighter control of subordinates
  • Allows specialists to be hired and employed
  • Supervisors typically have a small span of control
Smaller span of control thus aiding supervisionBureaucratic and delayed decision making
Tighter Control of subordinatesEffective communication can be difficult given the large amount of layers
Greater room for the advancement and promotion of specialistsHigher supervision and administrative costs
Tighter controls can hamper innovation and lead to resentment
A flat organisational structure

A flat organisational structure

  • A flat organisation structure is one that has relatively few levels in its hierarchy of authority
  • In a flat most middle management are eliminated in order to allow top management to come in direct contact with shop floor employees and customers
  • Managers typically have a wider span of control
  • It is typically found in smaller businesses that allow top managers(usually owners and founders) to control every aspect of their business organisations
Smaller administrative and supervisory costsNot suitable for large/geographically spread organisations
Quick decision makingFew advancement and promotional opportunities
Quick communication as there are few layers involved in the processLittle room for the employement of specialists
Freedom of innovation by employeesWith lax control employees may drift aimlessly
  • The business might choose to utilise both types of structures from time to time or depending on situations or switch from structure to structure depending with circumstances

To access more topics go to the O Level Business Notes page.

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