Traditionally, an organisation has a clearly defined hierarchy and a line of command that places its employees under the direct supervision of, and therefore directly answerable to, the senior management. There are no middle managers. Employees have greater managing powers and more freedom to take decisions. This system works effectively in smaller companies, and is known as the 'flat', 'horizontal' or 'traditional' organisation. This type of an organisation has its disadvantages that affects its overall style, culture and output.
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The absence of middle management
This is a major disadvantage, if the company is to plan for the future. Middle management does not just provide the link between leaders and employees, it also serves as the future senior management-in-training. In the absence of the middle chain of command, the traditional organisation is left with a big void to fill in the case of senior management retirement. In a non-traditional organisation, the middle management provide the link in the chain. Future planning in a traditional organisation, therefore, is restrictive.
It is difficult in a traditional organisation for the senior management to effectively and constantly keep the lines of communication open and operative with its employees. There may be distance between the two tiers of the structure in such an organisation and once again, the gap becomes a cause for concern. Such a problem does not arise in the non-traditional organisation, where there is a system of hierarchy and employees are answerable in smaller groups to managers who are responsible for their work.
Since the organizational structure of a traditional organisation is limited, it hampers the upward growth of the company or organisation. Even if there are no problems within the organisation's leadership and employee structure, there may be situations where employees start to feel frustrated and restricted in the absence of a higher scale of achievement. This may lead to job dissatisfaction, inefficiency and lower output, which in turn will adversely affect the profits of the organisation.
Customers can suffer
Because of the rigidity in structure of the traditional organisation, coordination and communication between the various channels within the organisation and the communication with customers can suffer. In this absence of a direct and close line of command, project completion and accountability falls. This leads to a decrease in quality that directly affects the customers. For an organisation to prosper, there have to be checks and balances, which are sometimes missing in the traditional form of organisation.
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