It Is Time to Tear Down the Hierarchy

from the Turning Good People Into Top Talent blog series
By Bob Moore, CMC

hierarchy structure

The information age, first predicted by John Naisbitt in his best-selling book, Megatrends (1982), is well established in almost every type of organization.  Yet, many organizations still hold on to the hierarchy organizational structure which is a remnant of the industrial age.

According to Wikipedia, the English word “hierarchy” was cited by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1880. This model of organizational structure was adopted by the military to show a chain of command.  Since then, the hierarchy has permeated every type of enterprise around the world regardless of size, industry, or location.

Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work (2014), which I will review next month, says, “This type of a model makes sense for linear work where no brain power is required and where the people who work there are treated like expendable cogs.”  He adds that every single organization he speaks with, works with, and researches, is looking to flatten out their structure. Nobody ever tells him they want more bureaucracy and more layers. Today, one thing is certain, the hierarchy belongs in a management museum locked up for people to see, but not touch.”

Are you in the knowledge business with a knowledge-based workforce? If so, you will have a very difficult time attracting, fully engaging and retaining top talent if you are stuck with the hierarchy. Are you also experiencing high levels of employee disengagement and turnover? In addition to ineffective managers and team leaders, another factor is the need to overhaul your organizational structure.

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