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Within any organization there are likely to be several
layers of authority. The number of levels depends upon whether the business has
a hierarchical or flat structure. A hierarchical structure has many layers of
management, each with a narrow span of control. Instructions feed downwards
from one level of management to those below. Feedback comes from the lower
levels upwards. The reporting system from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom
is known as the chain of command. A hierarchical structure enables tight
control. It offers clear opportunities for promotion and may reduce stress
levels in both managers and employees. Everybody knows their place in the
However, communication can be a problem in hierarchical organizations.
Without effective management, it can take a long time for information to pass
up and down the chain of command. Staff may not be fully empowered. Rather than
being able to use their initiative, employees may need to seek approval for
every action from higher levels of managements. This not only can cause delay
but also be bad for employee morale, reducing their motivation to work.
A flat line structure is one where there are few layers of
management. Each manager has a wide span of control. This means a manager has
responsibility for many people or tasks. Delegation is necessary for tasks to
be carried out effectively. This structure gives employees more responsibility
for their work. Communication is also faster up and down the layers. This
enables problems to be solved more quickly.
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Jul 19th, 2015
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