Horizontal organization in companies: good or bad idea?
La organización horizontal en las empresas: ¿buena o mala idea?

Horizontal organization in companies: good or bad idea?

Flat work structures, in which hierarchical levels are reduced to a minimum, have become more and more common in recent years. Simple effect of the mode or indispensable transformation of conventional work organizations?. We will now look at the assets and limits of horizontal organization in the company.

Steps to develop a horizontal work structure

1. Address communication

This is the top priority, especially during periods of transformation. It is the guarantee that the company’s vision is disseminated to everyone and that the objectives are known and understood by all employees. It is also one of the keys to promoting team membership.

2. Delegating with relevance

Within a cross-functional structure, everyone has a voice in the chapter, but this does not exclude that there is a person with authority to whom employees can turn. This person will be able to support his or her team, especially in resolving possible conflicts, but also to ensure that all functional rules are respected. Employees should not feel left to their own devices.

3. Maintain a clear environment

Even in a structure where autonomy is favored, the working environment must remain coherent, so that efficiency is at the rendezvous.

What do we mean by horizontal organization?

A horizontal work structure counteracts the traditional hierarchical model, which is based on verticality in the working relationship, where decisions are made by executives and managers. These decisions are followed by employees whose hierarchical level is lower.

In a horizontal (or transversal) organization, work is done by teams or projects, in work circles, where all employees participate at the same level in the growth of the company and its innovation. Everything is based on cooperation and the manager becomes a “facilitator“, a partner. This new management approach applies well to small, startup-type structures, but can find full meaning in larger organizations, to facilitate the establishment of collaborative ways of working.

The benefits of a cross-functional organization

Adopting a horizontal organization of work, even if you are alone on some projects, has many advantages. It is an excellent way to improve flexibility in decision making. It increases employee involvement: they are now stakeholders in the development of certain strategies, which is essential for retaining teams. In addition, it can be an opportunity to reveal the potential of some employees.

Cohesion between teams is reinforced, communication between the different departments that project managers are favoring, regardless of their hierarchical level, this will facilitate the connection between people, this approach is much more effective.

Cross-functional projects usually have a much more efficient outcome than conventional projects, as more experts are involved. Working within a horizontal structure ultimately allows for greater transparency to teams in carrying out business operations.

Horizontal organization: What are its limits?

The horizontal organization of work is also not without its weaknesses. According to the WHO, horizontal organization does not mean that there is no need to work within a certain framework: this must not be forgotten, at the risk of becoming a fiasco. Precise rules must govern the organization, as well as a moral and ethical code, so that everyone works together intelligently.

Managers, who have become “coordinators“, must be in line with their new role, in order to make life easier for paid employees, and to be the relay for communication between them and management. Training and monitoring by specialized trainers are essential to support them in this new definition of their role.

The horizontal organization can sometimes lead to a clear lack of vision. To avoid this, the final decision-makers must be clearly identified. The keys to success in setting up a transversal work organization.

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