Flat and Tall Organizational Structures
John Gabriel Mathis
Management Communications with Technology Tools
Instructor: Frank Czarny
September 17, 2012
The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast organizational styles. I intend to show how communication flows through each organizational structure and give examples. As well as examine flat and tall organizational structures in detail.
Benefits and Barriers to Communication in
Flat and Tall Organizational Structures
I would like to compare and contrast how communication flows from top to bottom through two different organizational structures; discuss how each may aid in communication, and possible barriers to communication. Every organization, to be effective, must have an organizational structure. First, we must define what an organizational structure is. Carol Ann stated, “Organizational structure provides the guidelines for the system of reporting that drives an organization, dividing it into areas or departments that are responsible for certain aspects of the organization's purpose; it shows the relationships between areas and individuals needed to achieve more efficient operations while attaining the goals of the organization.”(Ann, 2012, p1) It is the form of the structure that determines the hierarchy and the reporting structure in the organization. It is also called organizational chart. There are different organizational structures that companies follow depending upon a variety of things; it can be based on geographical regions, products or hierarchy. To put it simply an organizational structure is a format that shows the organization of work and the systematic arrangement of work(Irani, 2011, p1). Organizational structures are needed to define the different levels of an organization, as well as the flow of communication through an organization. An organization can be structured in many different ways, depending on their objectives. The organizations structure will determine in what manner it operates and performs. Without organizational structure, there's no guidance or boundaries for the members of the organization to operate within. Organizational structures are needed to give them a clear direction on policies and procedures to avoid as much confusion as possible. When the organizational structure is used correctly it aids in the facilitating of communication, it produces satisfied and motivated members. The two main forms of organizational structures are flat organizational structures and tall organizational structures. Every organization must choose its structure after careful scrutiny and evaluation of several factors. These are factors such as the scale and magnitude of the company’s operations, its products, customers and employees(Moorty, p1). Organizational structure has a direct impact on communication within an organization. The way the hierarchy of an organization is designed either invites feedback, open-mindedness and the effective flow of communication or hinders, controls and restricts the ability of subordinates to freely communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas. A flat organizational structure, it can also be referred to as a horizontal organization, points to the organization's feature of creating a smaller hierarchy for its staff. As opposed to other structures like huge pyramids with lots of layers, a flat organization is much smaller in scale. Flat organizations have fewer levels of management between managers, executives, and employees. Common knowledge seems to suggest that larger organizations will have multi-level structures whereas smaller ones will have flat organizational structures. This is not always true. Rakoczy stated, “In reality, even some large organizations are exerting efforts to flatten their organizational structures in order to reap the advantages of a flat organizational structure that result from smaller and more manageable...