The flat organisational structure is also alternately known as horizontal or delayering organisational structure. This setup of an organisation operates with less or even without any central management between the company’s executives and the employees. The idea in the flat organisational structure is to empower the decision making process by authorising the well trained workers who in this hierarchy are supposed to be more productive for the company. On the other hand, the closely supervised employees by a layer of management are observed being less productive for the organisation.
Practically, the flat organisational structure is suitable for relatively small scale organisations with 50 or lesser employees. This organisation is also implementable in large scale organisations that have smaller independent operational units. In a growing organisation, the flat structure has a very limited scope and should be replaced by a streamlined structure. After a critical size of employees is reached, keeping a flat structure between the management and employees becomes practically impossible. The financial area of the organisation also couldn’t sustain in a flatter structure when the organisation size crosses a certain critical level. This transition in the organisational structure is also related to the productivity which increases when the horizontal organisation structure move towards a vertical structure or vice versa.
The employees in the horizontal structure are involved in the company’s decision making process in a more decentralised manner. This setup makes the comments or feedback more easy and accessible at an individual level, hence participating more in the decision making process of the company. The likely response to the comments or the feedback by the clients becomes a lot more rapid and healthy.
If we look deep inside the matter, then a flat organisation operates with no central management at all. The small scale organisations are by default flat in their organisational structure. The reason for a flat structure in small organisations is that they already have so less employees to justify any engagement of middle management. Even sometimes, some large organisations also tend to keep their structure as flat as possible to make the decision process simple and easy.
On the employee’s side, this structure is not very suitable for them. Employees seeking promotion or a career path would not able to sustain long in such structure. Due to a flatter structure of organisation, employees never get a promotion and neither have they thought that they can have a career path. Learning of course is a thing which they do gain in this or any other structure with time. Furthermore, the workload and responsibilities in such an environment is also relatively more. The stress level of the employees can increase with extra workload which can in turn result in less productivity.
Conclusively, a flat organisation structure normally has self managing teams with the power and authority to take the decisions themselves. They don’t need any middle management for taking their decisions or to pass it on to the higher management. They are basically self autonomous.