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date: 22 March 2019

Hierarchical Organizational Structure and Leadership

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.

With the hierarchical approach, duties are delegated from the upper to the lower levels of hierarchical structure. This system is known as “a pyramid organization” and is characterized by an echelon arrangement that gives the impression of a pyramid. This kind of structure is the simplest type of work distribution and is based upon the Fayol principles, namely, the unity of administration and hierarchical scale. Certainly, this system of organizational structure (as with any system) has both advantages and disadvantages. A hierarchical approach expresses the classical view of the organizational structure and may be implemented in any kind or size of organization. Although the extent of power delegation at the organizational level is dependent on the level of centralization and/or decentralization of organizational decision making and the level of division of the work, the hierarchical approach is a common managerial structure type for large organizations in the public domain. If organizations are to enhance employees’ motivation and team spirit then employees’ perceptions are an important element to work with. Within this framework, individuals in the military and educational sector are working in a rather sensitive working environment that is quite different from other sectors.

Leadership is without doubt the most essential part of any organization and is key for the efficient performance and continued development of an organization. Flexible networks, open communication processes, and leaders with vision and a creative, constructive, and positive spirit favorably affect employees’ feelings and enhance innovation and fluidity. Taking into consideration that a highly hierarchical system may adversely affect incentives to exert effort, as well as the efficiency of communication channels, one may consider the importance of the contribution of a leader and the development of leadership as an acute issue that significantly impacts staff morale and efficient performance, especially in the military and educational sectors.