01/12/2021

What is a Flat Organisational Structure in Start-ups?

Are you a budding entrepreneur? Here’s the lowdown on start-up organisational structures…

If you’re studying (or are interested in) a business course at the University of Bolton, entrepreneurship may have been crossed your mind as a viable pathway. If you dream of starting your own company, you’ll need to consider the best ways to structure your company.

One of the most progressive ways of doing this is to adopt a flatter model, one that works very differently to the traditional hierarchy. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a flat organisational structure?

In comparison to a hierarchical structure that relies on a chain of command, flatter company structures (also known as the beta structure) allow employees at every level to enjoy more autonomy.

It removes the ‘top-down’ chain of command, essentially allowing teams to self-manage. By doing this, start-ups are able to strip away layers of red tape, bringing a multitude of benefits to the entire business.

Why is it better than a hierarchical structure?

While the old hierarchy has a pyramid with the CEO at the top and interns at the bottom, flattening the business means being able to empower people to have more responsibility. The results are often increased collaboration across the board.

 

Flatter company structures make it easier for a graduate or intern to get involved, put forward their ideas and opinions, without traditional barriers. As well as inspiring more creativity and innovation, and enabling faster decision-making, this structure can also be a tool to improve employee engagement and workplace satisfaction.

But in order for the beta structure to really work, it has to be executed well and its core principles have to be embedded deep into the company culture. There also has to be absolute clarity in defining people’s roles in order for them to be successful with autonomy.

Is it the best structure for your start-up?

There are many arguments for and against a flat organisational structure, and there are definitely pros and cons to the traditional hierarchical structure. While a flat organisation can be a great way to help employees and your business thrive in competitive markets, it’s important to watch out for the invisible hierarchies that can form.

If you do decide to choose beta over a classic pyramid, remember to make your structure adaptable, as you never know when you might be required to change the way you work.

Want to know more about entrepreneurship and the right start-up company structures? The University of Bolton’s MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation masters could be the right course for you.

There’s nowhere better to study a business degree than the University of Bolton. We rank No.1 for Teaching Quality and Student Experience in Business Courses in the North West*, and our programmes are led by highly qualified staff who are passionate about providing a positive learning environment.

We’re proud to put our students, and their needs first. At the University of Bolton, you can experience #UniAsItShouldBe!

To find out more about applying for other postgraduate business degrees in 2022, see our available courses.

*The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

 

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