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Organizations and Horizontal Structure

Why do companies using a horizontal structure have cultures that emphasize openness, employee empowerment, and responsibility? What do you think a manager's job would be like in a horizontally organized company?

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RESPONSE:

1. Why do companies using a horizontal structure have cultures that emphasize openness, employee empowerment, and responsibility?

The Horizontal Structure is an approach to reducing communication issues and enhancing responsiveness to the external environment. It is designed around core business processes which cut across functional areas (Daft, 2004, as cited in http://www.hopechaser.com/NewFiles/Horizontal%20Structure.html). A flattened organization requires fewer managers, is less bureaucratic, and can produce more cross-functional employees. Achieving such an organizational structure is not always a simple task. And, a horizontal, rather than pyramid, structure not only allows greater worker empowerment, but also makes communicating vision throughout the organization an easier task. Therefore, by definition and design, a horizontal structure requires cultures that emphasize openness, employee empowerment, and responsibility to accomplish the core business processes.

For example, the twelve fundamental guiding principles for creating horizontal organizations according to Ostroff et al (1992, as cited in http://www.anarchy.no/horizon1.html; Ostroff, Frank and Douglas Smith. The horizontal organization." McKinsey Quarterly. (1):148-168) are the following:

The first five principles concern the design of the organization (the manager will be doing this, so it applies to the next question as well):

1. Organize around cross-functional core processes.
2. Install process owners
3. Make teams, not individuals, the cornerstone of organizational design and performance. ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains why companies using a horizontal structure would have cultures that emphasize openness, employee empowerment, and responsibility. It also examines what a manager's job would be like in a horizontally organized company.

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