Factors affecting organisational structure
A Forestry Commission case study

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Page 4: Flat organisation structures

Some hierarchies have many layers within them. This often leads to a narrow span of control. This means that each manager is responsible for only a small number of people. These tall organisations allow for tighter control and supervision but may stifle motivation or the creativity of workers. This sort of structure does not fit with the work carried out at the Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission has a flat organisational structure. This has fewer layers and larger spans of control. Communication is generally quicker in this structure and enables creative approaches and the freedom to explore new options.

Employees at the Forestry Commission work together to find better ways of using forest resources by:

  • 'protecting what we already have
  • reducing deforestation
  • restoring the world's forest cover
  • using wood for energy
  • replacing other materials with wood
  • planning to adapt to our changing climate'.

For this structure to be effective, workers need to be able to take responsibility for their decisions.

Forestry Commission employees like James, Sarah, Vicky and Richard work within a flat organisation structure. Their skills and experience are used effectively to share ideas about ways in which sustainable forestry can help to combat climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord, agreed in December 2009, gave international backing to a number of commitments for global action on climate change. The Accord added weight to recent UK initiatives including those related to sustainable forests. The Forestry Commission is actively working to support these initiatives.

Forestry Commission | Factors affecting organisational structure