Implementation of flat structures in Colombian organizations



This research seeks to understand the adoption of a flat structure in Colombian organizations as viewed by academics, entrepreneurs and consultants. It is a qualitative research and it uses a descriptive and cross-sectional approach that offers a conceptual understanding of what a flat structure really is and how it contrasts with the opinion of Colombian and other Latin American experts as to how to identify its characteristics in this context, the impacts on the way companies operate and the key requirements for its implementation. The purpose is to shed light on the applicability of these types of organizations in the Colombian context. The flat structure is found to have low levels of formalization, centralization and differentiation. Therefore, organizations must take care when implementing these configurations to have a clear purpose, a strong culture (that functions as an alignment mechanism), human talent with high self-management skills, the correct leadership style and focus on the performance of team and individual performance. Interviewees agree that this type of structure offers very relevant advantages in the current business context. Things such as rapid adaptation to changes in the environment, greater innovation, employees’ commitment and proactivity and a better working environment are just a few examples. On the other hand, organizations with this structure will have to deal with highly complex disadvantages associated with disorganization, the materialization of agency conflicts, resistance of leaders to the loss of power and lack of coherence between corporate purpose and structure. The managerial implications of adopting flat structures are discussed.


Organizational Structure, Flat Structure, Hierarchy, Team-works, Self-management


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