Types of Organizational Structure in Management

by Nicole Papa; Updated September 26, 2017

Organizational structure or organizational development is the system in place within an organization that attempts to optimize the effectiveness and productivity of employees. Different types of organizational structure are used in management to accomplish different tasks and types of work. For example, a police department lieutenant may expect his officers to respond to commands without question, while this approach is appropriate for a retail store manager.


Autocratic organizational structure manifests itself in a vertical format where leadership makes executive decisions that are expected to be implemented by employees. This structure does not provide opportunity for subordinates to offer feedback or suggestions. This type of organizational structure is common in the military, local law enforcement and trade jobs. Barriers are created in this organizational management structure in which management and employee communication is limited.


Democratic organizational management structure is considered a horizontal structure that provides equal access and involvement of all team members. Mangers institute an “open door policy” where subordinates are encouraged to talk about issues and share ideas. This structure thrives on feedback and the knowledge of the subordinates. This organizational management structure is commonly present in retail stores, the tourism industry and the food and beverage industry. In this structure, the leader gleans information from employees but is ultimately responsible for final decisions.

Laissez Faire

Laissez faire organizational management structure stems from the French expression meaning “to not interfere with the affairs of others.” This structure is commonly seen as team management where various teams are created and given specific tasks to accomplish. Each team is empowered to make their own decisions and choose the process they want to use in accomplishing tasks. The manager does not observe or participate in the team’s process but leaves the teams to work through the objective on their own. The manger must ensure that all work is satisfactory for upper-management, however.

About the Author

Nicole Papa has been a freelance writer since 2004 with a focus on SEO and Internet marketing. She has written for instinctmarketing.com and JOLT! Marketing. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in mass media communications, and from the University of Texas with an associate degree in theater performance.

Photo Credits

  • process flow image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com