Define Your Path

Small or Large Organization - It's up to You

Think of your dream job. Then ask yourself, “Is this dream job in a large company or a small company?” Your preference can help you decide whether you aspire to work in a large bureaucratic organization or if you desire to work in the more intimate settings of a smaller company.

As you envision your dream job, there are several factors to consider. We have often heard that bigger is better. This statement can apply to organizations that are often labeled “bureaucratic.” Large bureaucracies often have a set of standardized processes and formalized rules and regulations. These large organizations have tremendous benefits. They:

  • Have economies of scale to help with cost advantages.
  • Can be global and complex, and handle many different products or services.
  • Are typically more stable and can recover more quickly from uncertainty.

However, small is beautiful, too. Small, or boutique, firms can be attractive to those of us who like more variety in our work as they can be more flexible and entrepreneurial. For some, the entrepreneurial spirit may indicate our appreciation for small business. Because of the entrepreneurial pleasure of owning a small business, there are an estimated 26 million small businesses today in the United States. In essence, those of us who enjoy working in a more intimate, flatter organization with a more free-flowing management system and an appreciation for employee innovation would do well in a small business environment.

So which is better? It is really up to you. I remember how “wowed” I was when I started my first full-time job in a big downtown city at a huge insurance company with spatial offices. Big was beautiful, as was the structure, the expensive offices, the staff development plans and the opportunities within this bureaucracy. But when I decided to make the move to a small boutique firm, I learned to appreciate the different strengths of small business. I loved being closer to customers’ needs, I realized small companies can change faster to address economic or environmental demands, and I felt a greater sense of commitment to the smaller organization. Even better, the free-flowing management style was easy to work in and change direction when necessary.

Even today, whether I’m working with a large military organization or consulting a small firm with all employees at one meeting, I’ve come to appreciate the strengths of both small and large organizations. Each type of organization has its strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it is up to you as the employee to decide which you prefer.

Related Benedictine Programs

Benedictine University’s Master of Science (M.S.) in Management and Organizational Behavior Program offers courses that address these very issues about organizational structure and design, as well as how our behaviors and preferences in organizations affect ourselves and others. For more information about our online program, click here or speak to one of our Program Advisors who can share more with you about the program and curriculum.

About the Author

Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Organization Development from Benedictine University in 2001 and currently is a professor for Benedictine’s M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior and Ph.D. in Organization Development programs. She is a thought leader in corporate organization dynamics and the creation of high-performance organizations, and was recently the division chair for the Management Consulting Division of the National Academy of Management. Yaeger is a past president of the Midwest Academy of Management, and is a registered consultant through the International Society for Organization Development. Yaeger has written more than 100 pieces on organization development, including eight books.