Future of Organization Flatter or Hierarchical [where speed is critical]

organizational structure -dwritings

Fast-moving markets and innovative business models, products or services are interrupting the future of organizations in multiple ways. An important value chain to consider is to think about the future of work and in accordance with it, putting those skills to a model where organizational structure is working as an additional force in achieving the speed, along with market changes.


The author of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization, Jacob Morgan defines the organizational structure to be of 5 types;

  • Hierarchy: Communication flow from top to bottom, where innovation stagnates, engagement suffers, and collaboration is non existence.
  • Flatter: Focus on communication and collaboration, increase employee experience, challenging traditional management model.
  • Flat: No seniority, manager or executives, informal hierarchies automatically get created based on seniority, people who are at the company longer just tend to be viewed as being more senior. The lack of structure can also make accountability and reliability a bit of an issue.
  • Flatarchies: Operates with the existing structure, but allow employees to suggest, run and innovate.
  • Holacratic: To allow for distributed decision making while giving everyone the opportunity to work on what they do best example : Zappos and Medium
For more information on this topic, you could also subscribe to Jacob’s newsletter here


Mckinsey recent article on linking talent to value is based on the analysis where it is emphasized that the best people in most important roles do not happen by chance. It needs a structured, quantified approach with the fair amount of flexibility. Organization leader should address the series of questions such as,

  • Where did the value for this unit came from?
  • Which roles have been most critical?
  • Would the new strategy entail new roles?
  • What big disruptions might change role or responsibilities?


Being an organization, it is an operational duty to work on internal growth projects or external client deliverables based on the business model. No matter how big or small are the organizations, they need to consistently innovate and disrupt in order to survive in this fast-moving market.

You think about a product or service and there is always tens or hundreds of companies already offering those services with less time, less money and more accuracy.

What is the approval process for a new project and how much time it will take to at least initiate the project? For most companies, this is the biggest pain point.

Many organizations are setting up the new research department as a separate entity or business unit to perform certain highly critical and high caliber projects. However, at times innovation lags because of less collaboration of employees.

Most of the startup culture is flexible, and employees have to wear many hats and perform multiple responsibilities which allow best of them towards the success of an organization.

Last minute thoughts:

Future of work will bring, new responsibilities, job duties to be performed by employees as part of the megatrends who are shaping the future of work. As per world economic forum report for top skills in 2020 would be, Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Cognitive flexibility.

We need to work towards those organizational structures who would eradicates the challenges due to multiple layers and move towards a group of people, with ease to collaborate, with clear objectives to finish a project, no matter how small or big it is e.g. product launch activity for few months.

Categories: dStrategy

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