Organisational structure + job roles

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Suhaib Bashir                                                                      Unit: 5   people in organisations

Organisational structure + job roles

Why organisations need some type of structure?

All organisations need some type of structure to operate productively. Even a small firm will have specific job roles for the staff, so there may be a general manager, along with technical experts and others responsible for sales and accounts.

An Organisational structure shows all the different job roles and it also shows who is responsible for who (chain of command). Organisational structure shows the span of control. Span of control means how many people a person is responsible for. It lets all employees know who their line manager is - businesses need to know this in order to operate efficiently.

Organisational structures are usually shown on an Organisational chart.


There are 3 main types of structure:

  1. Flat structure

This is an example of flat Organisational structure. A flat structure usually has 2 or 3 levels and the chain command is frequently short in a flat structure. The advantages of a flat structure are highlighted below:

  • Easy to make decision
  • Communication is easier
  • Owner or manager has greater control over the staff
  • Owner or manager will know what is happening on the shop floor
  • Staff tend to have more independence and job flexibility

We usually see a flat structure in smaller organisations with few employees.

  1. Hierarchical structure

This is an example of an Hierarchical Organisational structure.

Hierarchical structure is often used in large businesses. In this structure there are many levels and the chain of command is long. People with the most power are usually at the top. They do the decision making which has to be passed through many levels.

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In this structure decisions are made without consolation and communication is harder as it has to pass through many levels. Advantages of hierarchical structure are highlighted below:

  • A clearly defined management structure. Everyone will have an official job title and know their precise responsibilities.  
  • A clear defined salary scale. The amount of an employee is paid will tend to rise, the higher up the hierarchy they are.
  • Standard rules and procedures on hours of work, arranging annual leave, job appraisal, promotions, discipline, etc.
  • Every one knows what they are doing, it saves time.


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This is a straightforward and clear description of organisational structures. The functional areas could be greatly expanded and related more closely to the case study the writer has briefly examined