Comparing and contrasting different organisation structure and culture

By Hisham ALahdal

Comparing and contrasting different organisation structure and culture, the two organisations are Subway and GMTB (Get My Tax Back). Those organisations operate with two different structure and culture depending on product or services they provide.

What is organisation structure?

“An organizational structure defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated.”

(Stephen P & Timothy A, Pearson; 236)

There are three main structures which are:-

  1. Tall Hierarchy: –

Means the business structure in great numbers of layers, where those on top of the structure have111 greater authority then the employee in lower level. This type of structure suits more with organisations that have great number of department as well as numbers of stakeholders, for example “(Partnership – Limited Liability partnership – Limited company – Public limited company – non profit/social enterprise)”. The authority power in this structure is centralisation, meaning the authority power high level in the structure control the lower level.

  1. Flat Hierarchy:-

Means the business have few layers of department and this type of structure suit small businesses such as Sole Trader. The authority power in this structure is decentralisation, meaning the employee has the authority to make discussion and solve problems.


  1. Matrix structure:-

“A matrix organizational structure is a company structure in which the reporting relationships are set up as a grid, or matrix, rather than in the traditional hierarchy. In other words, employees have dual reporting relationships – generally to both a functional manager and a product manager”


This type of structure it’s beneficial for small businesses such as sole trader or partnership, because all the staff have an excellent communication as well as the ability of working on the same project to maximize all the strength and minimize all the weakness.

What is organisation culture?

“Organisation culture means the values, behaviour as well as the beliefs of the each department in an organisation, which it has an impact of they way interact with each other as well as the external stakeholder, In anther word the over all tone within the organisation”. There are five main cultures which are:-

  1. Power Culture:-

It’s more with the centralisation authority, which works, in the tall Hierarchy structure.

  1. Role Culture:-

This culture based on each employee depends on the other for an example employee A need to do task 1, in order for employee B to do the role. This culture can be used on either the matrix or tall hierarchy structure.

  1. Task Culture:-

This culture it’s based on individual employee where each employee has to finish the task have to do in order for the business to rich aims and gales. This culture works perfectly on the matrix structure.

  1. Person Culture:-

This culture allows the employee to be creative and fully motivated, it has a decentralisation authority, and therefore it works great in the flat structure.

  1. Entrepreneurial Culture:-

This cultures its mix of all the other culture and it can work with the three main organization structure.”

GMTB {Get My Tax Back}, it’s a limited partnership organisation which deal with tax refunds from HM revenue to peopleGMTB-logo who lives and work in the UK. This Organisation uses SFR {Sale Filed Representative} by sending them to different location to sale the service by signing up people around UK, especial in crowded areas such as train stations as well as shopping centres. This organisation gets commission of the refund; therefore signing up customer it’s their main income. For that reason the culture they operate with its Task culture, which is very suitable because GMTB have adapted the matrix structure.

subwaySubway, Hammersmith branch. It’s a partnership organisation, which provide the community with healthy fast food. This organisation follows the Role culture, where the manager needs to provide all the equipment needed for the two members of staff in order to run the business as well as break-even. The Role culture it’s suitable for this organisation because of the flat hierarchy structure that they have adopted.

The relationship between organisation structure and culture:-


There are list of factors that affect the organisation structure, and depending on those factors the organisation will have to adapt and find the suitable culture to meet organisation aims in long terms gales. The factors are:-

  1. “Macro and micro environment
  2. Size of business
  3. Location of business
  4. Types of business
  5. Strategic objectives of business
  6. Skills of the workforce
  7. Culture of organization.”

(Van Dyk. M. {2014})

At early stages of the any organisation need to analyse and evaluate all the PESLTE (Political- Economic- Social- Legal-Technology- Environment},  and SWOT (Strength- Weakness- opportunities- Threats). And based on the result of those factors, the organisation will know what structure to adapt. There are different types of culture where each culture suits more to different structure. For example the power culture it’s more suitable for tall hierarchy structure, for the reason being the great numbers of layers in the structure, where the power has to be centralisation authority.

According to the head of marketing department Mr Fuad Osman of GMTB the organisation has adapted the matrix structure with the task culture, for many reasons such as the size of the organisation, service, number of function and number of stakeholders. This structure with the Task culture it is the most suitable from the others. The matrix structure allows an easy access between all the departments. For example the marketing and sales team need to provide new advertisement for customers, because of the matrix structure with the Task culture they have an essay access to the finance department to fund the new advertisement. However this could lead to an extra expenditure for reason being the authority power is decentralisation. Therefore GMTB need to mix the task culture with power culture.

Flat structure with the role culture it is the most suitable for Subway then GMTB, because of the size of the business, product, and number of functions inside the business. However the disadvantages of the role culture it’s, if the manager did not provide all the equipment needed for the employee then the work will not be done. For that reason Subway should mix the role culture with person culture where the employee can be creative and could solve problem, as well as keep the business moving even if there is an error from different department.


According to Charles Handy (1999) – and following work by Harrison (1972). The power culture it’s based as a spider’s spider webweb, meaning concentrating power among number of people (head departments). In this Power culture decisions are normally made quickly or faster, beside of the poor communications between the staff and the head departments. In this culture focuses on result rather then how its been done which is great point on business views to meet the aims in specific time. However there is an argument where employee lose motivation and do the work because they have to do otherwise they might lose their position in the company. For that reason those type of culture the head department focuses on financial rewards, promoting as well as bonuses.



  1. Stephen P & Timothy A. 2010 Essentials of Organizational Behaviour. Tenth Edition. PEARSON.
  1.  ( 22/10/2014)
  1. (23/10/2014)
  1. (23/10/2014)
  1. (Mr Fuad Osman, head of marketing department, 2014)
  1. (VanDyk.M, Organisations Behaviour/ 2014)
  1. Charles Handy (1999) – and following work by Harrison

(1972)  (23/10/2014)

  1. Tall structure image ( )
  2. Flat structure image( )
  3. matrix structure image( )
  4. Spider web image( )

One thought on “Comparing and contrasting different organisation structure and culture

  1. This is a good first attempt and it has achieved a higher grade, however some key areas need to develop to be able to maintain this grade. The key area that could affect the grade is the limited discussion relating to your chosen organisations. it is clear that organisational structures and cultures have been discussed and covers everything discussed in class. It is however descriptive and need to be elaborated much more. Currently it repeats back what was discussed in class, but does not demonstrate any strong further research to increase understanding of the topic. Using research outside of what was covered during sessions will make discussions more critical and show deeper critical thinking of the topics.
    Also for a higher grade the work must integrate theory much more into practice, by using examples of how theory works in your chosen businesses
    Good visuals have been incorporated and referencing have been attempted. Referencing and Bibliographies needs to be developed more inline with the Harvard referencing system.


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