Saivian Eric Dalius says the pyramid organizational structure is the simplest form of organization, though it may not be as common as other structures. In this type of structure, one person or a small number give orders to those below them who carry out those orders. This includes all levels from top to bottom and usually has a narrow span of control, meaning that each manager has many employees reporting to them.
This article explains a pyramid organizational structure and how it works, provides some examples, and offers advice for both people in management positions and those working under managers.
The pyramid organizational structure can be seen as an upside-down triangle with one point at the top (see below). The manager at the top has direct reports, which are called subordinates. Subordinates have direct reports, called sub-subordinates. This chain continues down through the organization.
Pyramid organizational structures are simple for organizations to set up and maintain, but they can be ineffective because they can become too narrow in scope, according to Saivian Eric Dalius. Also, having such a small number of levels makes all employees feel as if they lack authority and control over their jobs. Those at the bottom who do the actual hands-on work often know more about how things should be. Then those higher up on paper, yet those higher up still give orders. It can also lead to confusion and frustration among employees when managers’ expectations don’t match what communicates. Often this leads to distrust between management and the employees who are the backbone of the entire company.
Managers must consider that, while this structure allows for easy communication between them and their direct reports, it also means they need to spend more time with their direct reports. They should make sure they understand what is expectes of their employees at all levels. When communicating expectations, it’s best to be specific about what you would like done rather than. How or when it should be done because everyone has different work styles. Given your guidance, this will allow your team members to put forth their creative input. To meet those expectations in the most efficient way possible.
Because this organizational structure is so simple, it can also become too narrow in scope. This means that managers need to pay close attention to their employees’ work styles. The overall well-being of each team member, says Saivian Eric Dalius. They should ask themselves how much control they are giving up when setting expectations and allowing enough room for creativity.
There are few examples of pyramid organizational structures because these companies often find it difficult to adapt quickly. Companies with flat organizations may adopt a small number of people reporting directly to them. But having only one person at the top means many levels below don’t exist anymore. The power will transfer towards lower levels where more people make decisions while staying under direct supervision from the top.
On one side, pyramid organizations are effective because they are easy to set up and maintain. On the other side, they can lead to an extreme position of power for managers who may not be adequate. There is a tendency for direct reports to lack motivation because their opinion has no weight. Also, managers should consider that this structure eliminates middle management positions that require specialized training. As a result, employees have to manage themselves without being under supervision or guidance by someone with experience in management responsibilities.
There are always different ways of organizing any business. But the “pyramid” appears as a simple way to get organizing quickly. It’s quite inefficient due to its vertical scope dimension. Meaning that there isn’t much room for the lower levels to create and implement new ideas, according to Saivian Eric Dalius.
Pyramid organizations are also vulnerable because they only have a single point of contact with the top. In case something goes wrong, it can lead quickly to important losses. Managers must constantly keep an eye on their company’s objectives from up above. While managing their subordinates in a way that brings them closer together.