Scrap traditional organisation structures

Alison Vekshin, a freelance journalist, says: “Companies have followed a linear top-down organisation structure, but that approach is quickly becoming outdated – business leaders now favour a more flexible structure, and have seen that workers are more productive and innovative in an autonomous work environment”

The traditional linear organisation chart was designed to ‘create order and delegate responsibilities when there was limited technology and communication’ – the top delegated to and managed the middle layer which did the same to the bottom

Critics said this created bureaucracy which reduced efficiency, productivity and speed

Vekshin claims such pyramid structures are becoming obsolete, to be replaced by flatter structures

As new technology revolutionises how, when and where people work, companies recognise that, by removing a rigid chain of command and empowering employees to voice their ideas and make their own decisions, productivity increases

Google, for example, have already moved to a flatter structure, allowing workers to make decisions and have direct access to top-level executives

Valve Corp, a Washington video game developer, has an employee handbook which opens with “Welcome to Flatland – this company is yours to steer – toward opportunities and away from risks – you have the power to green-light projects”

Zappos, an online shoe retailer, also employs a self-management system which they call Holacracy  – it replaces managers with self-directed circles and traditional job descriptions with a fluid approach of people filling several roles

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, says: “When companies get bigger, innovation or productivity per employee generally goes down” – Holacracy enables employees to act more like entrepreneurs and self-direct their work instead of reporting to a manager who tells them what to do


  • When companies adopt a fluid, not necessarily flat, structure workers move with ease among different roles and responsibilities
  • Such companies set themselves up for success by utilising freelancers to provide niche expertise and help the companies scale up and down as needed

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