What do hierarchical workplaces look like?
In hierarchical workplaces, everyone knows who’s boss. Employees might be encouraged to feed into decision-making processes, but ultimately either a single figure or a small body of people seen as the most qualified or deserving of decision-making power call the shots. Whether it’s a simple top-down management system or more complex cross-project teamwork, there’s a clear understanding of where everyone fits into the hierarchy, and how much authority they have.
What do horizontal workplaces look like?
In horizontal workplaces, everyone’s involved in making decisions. There’s no clear chain of command from top to bottom; responsibility is shared across the workplace, and everyone’s got an equal say. Because everyone’s got the same amount of influence, they’re usually also expected to contribute an equal amount of time, energy, and dedication.
How do we work out what structure is best for our workplace?
So what kind of workplaces are best for the economy? Depends what we’re aiming for, and what suits us as individuals. Some workplaces are aiming to make a profit, others to provide a service or bring about social change. Hierarchical and horizontal organisations have different values and assumptions about efficient organisation, human motivation, and the importance of a sense of ownership.