GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

3. Corporations and other businesses should try to eliminate the many ranks and salary grades that classify employees according to their experience and expertise. A flat organizational structure is more likely to encourage collegiality and cooperation among employees.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


Which is a better way to classify and reward employees of a business : a flat organizational structure or a hierarchical structure? The speaker prefers a flat structure in which distinctions between employees based on education or experience are not used as a basis for monetary rewards. I strongly disagree with the speaker's view for two reasons.

In the first place, the speaker's preference for a flat structure is based upon the claim that cooperation and collegiality among employees is more likely under this system than under a hierarchical one. However, this claim ignores our everyday experience in human interaction. Disagreements among co-workers are inevitable. Without a clear authoritative figure to resolve them and to make final decisions, disputes are more likely to go unresolved and even worsen thereby undermining cooperation, congeniality and ultimately productivity and profit.

In the second place, whether or not collegiality and cooperation are best fostered by a flat organizational structure is beside the point. My main reason for rejecting an organizational structure that does not distinguish workers in terms of their abilities or experience is that under such a system workers have little incentive to improve their skills, accomplish their work-related goals or assume responsibility for the completion of their assigned tasks. In my experience, human motivation is such that without enticements such as money, status or recognition, few people would accomplish anything of value or assume responsibility for any task. A flat system actually might provide a distinct disincentive for productivity and efficiency insofar as workers are not held accountable for the quality or quantity of their work. By ignoring human nature, then, a company may be harming itself by encouraging laziness and complacency.

In sum, the speaker's opinion that a flat organizational structure is the best way to promote collegiality and cooperation among employees runs contrary to common sense about how people act in a work environment and in any case provides a feeble rationale for the preference of one organizational structure over another.

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