A tall organisational structure is basically what the name implies. A tall organisation is one which has many levels of management and supervision. There is a quite long chain of command running from the top to the bottom of the organisation from the Chief Executive to the shop floor worker. This type is a basically more formal and bureaucratic. In this type of structure, multiple levels of management exist.
However, tall structures are rarely of more than 8 management levels. This is mainly due to the reason that more management control decreases the control span. If there are to be more than 8 management levels, than the advantages of this type of structure get outweighed by the disadvantages of this type of structure. In a tall organisational structure there is a narrow span of control within each management level i.e. each manager has small number of employees under their disposal. When there are fewer employees, it generally becomes easier to control them. They can be clearly and closely supervised. The freedom of the employees in this way becomes restricted. Each employee can be easily supervised regarding his responsibilities. The structure of management in this case is proper. There are also some drawbacks to this system. As the number of managerial level increases, decision making becomes extremely hard since approval is to be demanded from many layers of authority. Communication also has to take place amidst many layers of management. This system is also costly because generally speaking, managers are paid more than the other employees and their subordinates. When each layer advances to the next, the managers become more demanding. The manager above the layer will be paid more than the manager below. The function of each layer is although, clear and distinct. Lines are drawn concerning authority and responsibility.
Generally, the CEO or the President is at the top of this type of system while having control over the senior Vice Presidents of different departments like Marketing, Manufacturing, Finance and Human Resources. They, in turn have Vice Presidents at their disposal. These are then given command of the managerial level of departments like Accounting, Budget and Purchasing. This is how the Tall organisational structure is divided. This is how responsibilities are given in this system.
Basically, a tall organisation is more formal and bureaucratic. It best serves big businesses. Division of labor in this case is much specialized. The whole system is converted into many departments. Communication within the department among the employees and manager is excelling, but communication with other department becomes hard since this system gets compartmentalized. Rules and regulations in this system are very complex since each department has its own set of rules for its employees to follow. A tall hierarchy has a vertical flowchart. While a flat hierarchy has a more horizontal flowchart with greater base area with sharp angles. It is because tall organisations have many levels of hierarchy. These structures tend to be more complex and complicated, and they might react slower to market changes as compared to organisations where a manager has a large span of control comparatively.