This can be a very interesting and even enlightening exercise.
Go through your entire organization and ask the following
Who do you work for?
Who do they report to?
Who do you work with (name all interactions)?
Who works for you?
Who works for them?
Please draw the entire organization, from your view.
Assemble and correlate the results.
If you can actually diagram more than four levels deep within
your immediate organization (immediate meaning the
organization at one geographic site), then
the structure itself may be part of the problem. More than
six levels and questions of value added by the middle layers
surface. More than eight layers and the sclerosis of the
organization will render correction or even diagnosis of the
Examine how the results appear vis-a-vis the "official"
structure of the organization. This is particularly good to use
in any culture that advertises itself as "team-based." By repeating this
survey at irregular intervals, it can also
be used to measure the progress from a hierarchical culture
as it attempts to change itself into a flatter model.
Author: DonOlson 95/10/20
The above assumes that an organization is *trying* to move to a flatter model. I've heard from a co-worker who is currently working toward his undergrad degree that creating a more vertical organization is being taught as beneficial to morale. It gives the more-junior people the sense that there is "somewhere to go" in the organization. Figuring out whether the official hierarchy is the real hierarchy is, of course, and exercise for the reader. -- DrewKime 04/09/01