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Business and Technical Communication

Overall, a flat organizational structure enhances workplace efficiency (Ellis, 2003) by focusing on the development of working teams instead of individual performers (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993). This is so when compared to the old multi-layered organizational structure that makes it difficult to achieve the needed flexibility to adjust to the changing competitive environment. Efficiency translates into better performance that ensures market competitiveness and business longevity. Efficiency, brought about by a flatter organizational structure, ushers a number of benefits.

First is enhanced coordination of work and task linkages. Having lesser hierarchy of people means more direct communication between the top executives and the front line employees. With direct communication, decisions and policies formulated at the top are clearly understood and implemented. (Gittell, 2000) In implementing a flatter organizational structure, Southwest Gas Corporation developed a mild impersonal relationship between managers and employees, which facilitated better communication (Southwest Gas Corporation, 2007). Second is greater flexibility for desired change within the organization.

Changes in market demand such as technological innovation means the need for personnel to take on new tasks and acquire new skills. It is easier to rationalize reorganization and draw the cooperation of personnel in flatter organizations because of the ease in communication and

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coordination. (Davis & Albright, 2000; Kahn, 2000) Third is enhanced motivation of employees through empowerment as co-owners of the business within a team context. As members of the team, employees experience job satisfaction and fulfillment when treated as valuable contributors to the firm.

(Katzenbach & Smith, 1993) In line with the change to a flatter organizational structure, Southwest Gas Corporation applied the liberalized approach towards employees leading to better coordination due to the development of labor unions freely dialoguing with management (Southwest Gas Corporation, 2007). Fourth is the enhanced movement towards a customer-focused organization since job satisfaction translates to better performance so that frontline employees enhance the provision of services to build a customer-base for the firm. References Davis, S. , & Albright, T. (2000, Winter).

The changing organizational structure and individual responsibilities of managerial accountants: A case study. Journal of Managerial Issues, 12(4), 446-468. Ellis, C. (2003, Summer). The flattening corporation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 44(4), 5. Gittell, J. H. (2000, Spring). Paradox of coordination and control. California Management Review, 42(3), 101-117. Homburg, C. , Workman, J. P. , & Jensen, O. (2000, Fall). Fundamental changes in marketing organization: The movement toward a customer-focused organizational structure. Academy of Marketing Science Journal, 28(4), 459-478.

Kahn, R. L. (2000, July). The effect of technological innovation on organizational structure: Two case studies of the effects of the introduction of a new technology on informal organizational structures. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 14(3), 328-347. Katzenbach, J. R. , & Smith, D. K. (1993). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. New York: Harper Business Essentials. Southwest Gas Corporation. (2007). Profile of the southwest gas. Retrieved from World Wide Web May 28, 2008. http://www. swgas. com/about/aboutus/index. php? val=N

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