Organisational structure in an innovative environment
A Capco case study

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Page 2: Organisational structures and cultures

Capco 18 Diagram 1Organisations are established to meet a need, for example to provide goods or services. Organisational structures can take many forms. These are influenced by factors such as its purpose, size, the complexity of the tasks it performs, the external environment and its culture. Its products, services or where it is located also determine which structure is best. The structure chosen will govern the way in which the organisation operates and can have positive and negative effects. Traditional bureaucratic organisations such as the NHS have a hierarchical structure. This has many layers and a long chain of command from the top to the bottom layer. In the twentieth century, as organisations grew, hierarchical organisations were popular. This type of tall structure ensured effective command of the organisation because of the narrow span of control. (This is the number of people who report to a manager or supervisor).

In contrast to a hierarchical structure is a flat organisational structure. This structure has fewer layers or sometimes just one layer of management. This means that the chain of command from top to bottom of the organisation is short and the span of control is wide. With fewer layers for information to be cascaded down communication channels are clear and effective. Another alternative is a matrix structure. This type of structure is commonly used for project based work within an organisation. The team is made up of individuals with specialist skills, such as marketing, HR, or sometimes specialist technical skills, who work together on a specific project.

Capco 18 Image 13A tall hierarchical structure would not fit with Capco’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture. It has a non-hierarchical, team-driven flat structure. Within Capco’s flat organisational structure operate matrix structures for specific projects that require a variety of skills. Once the project has been completed these employees move on to another project with a different group of employees.

This structure creates a highly motivated and empowered workforce with everyone having access to advice and coaching. Its focus on innovation has created a ‘bottom up’ leadership approach where there is little bureaucracy. Employees are able to freely ask questions and suggest improvements. All have open access, for example, to the UK Chief Executive Officer who sits in the middle of the office.

‘We support and encourage an entrepreneurial outlook and independent thinking. Capco is not about organisational charts and layers — we operate with little hierarchy because we want all employees to feel that Capco is their firm to own and run.’

Organisational culture

Capco 18 Image 11Capco’s entrepreneurial and innovative culture supports its structure. Its culture celebrates individuality, integrity and openness in the work environment. Employees have freedom to realise their aspirations. Built on four key pillars the Capco culture embraces:

  • personal growth opportunities
  • performance and reward
  • a challenging portfolio of work
  • experience and learning.

Capco’s structure and culture fosters flexibility, creativity and an element of risk-taking. Teamed with a long-term vision, its employees are able to meet the changing and challenging needs of the financial services industry.

Capco | Organisational structure in an innovative environment