Is there a right structure for organizations?

The answer in two words is NO! Organizations are a collection of people grouped to reach goals. They are doing it because as a group they can reach more than as individuals, but the goals of each group of people are entirely different. One group wants to achieve the company purpose that they, or others, defined. Another group goal is to make a living so they can focus on what they really like to do after work. A different group goal is to learn, gain experience and move forward in their career. I can keep on counting at least five more different groups with different goals, but the message is the same: different groups of people with different goals grouped (voluntarily) together as one organization. Do you believe that having one organizational structure is going to serve a verity of goals? I don’t. By the way, different expectations from work base on professional experience, stage in life or any unexpected events one will encourage in life fall under the goals category.

On top of goals, we have to realize that different people have different memes that guide their behavior and needs from others. A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. (

Many systems try to generalize people into four of five types of behavior and needs, but those systems are all yet another attempt to simplify, which in reality makes everything much more complex. There aren’t types of people; each person is different and has different needs and behavior. Different needs and behavior also mean that each person (or group of person, if you want to take this approach) need a different organizational structure to operate within.

Taking the different goals and memes that motivate people behavior and needs, it is impossible to create one structure that will work for an organization. Actually, you can impose one structure by hiring and filtering people with goals and memes that better fit specific organization structure, but giving up diversity in an organization is equal to giving up the organization long term.

Another way to reach diversity is merely giving up one type of structure. This approach gives autonomy to each group of people to define the structure that will work best for the mix of personal goals and memes the group individuals have. Allowing this autonomy is accepting that different groups will run themselves based on various structures. One group might be ultra hierarchical, while the other can be flatter, and others might have no hierarchy at all. This poly-structure approach is not a common approach to structure right now, but this flexibility creates more engaged and committed people.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: