Does company size matter?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #142884

    Lindy Kyzer

    It may seem like a silly question for a largely government audience, but the diversity of size within government offices and agencies – not to mention between local, state and federal government – is downright impressive. And just like we all have a favorite flavor of ice cream I’ll argue most of us have a preference when it comes to the size of office we work in.

    I’m a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of a gal – I’ve enjoyed both larger government offices and working in small businesses, with a slight preference for smaller companies with a shorter chain of command (perhaps working in the Pentagon caused my bias).

    How about you? I’d love to get other perspectives on which office suits best, and why?

  • #142888

    Mark Hammer

    In analysing government-wide employee survey data in the Canadian context (which includes organizations ranging from under 25 to over 40k employees), small organizations are situated at the two tails of the distribution with respect to indices of workplace climate.

    Initially I naively assumed that smaller places would be friendlier, so I was surprised to see them among the worst. There seems to be a few reasons for this.

    1) Big organizations are made up of many smaller units, many of them actually larger than some small organizations. When I looked at workplace climate results for individual units, it was apparent that big organizations were comprised of winner and loser units. The aggregate gravitated toward the mean, such that entire large organizations were “average”. Small organizations are either good or bad, and have nothing and no one else to average out with. So it’s easier for small places to acquire a reputation as good or bad.

    2) The impact of one manager within a smaller organization can be much greater. A single “toxic” manager in a small place can ruin it for everyone, where a single excellent manager can make it a fabulous place to work. In larger organizations, there’s more peer influence, and more layers of managerial oversight above the manager, so alousy manager can’t go too far off the rails.

  • #142886

    Lindy Kyzer

    Mark – interesting stats. Thanks for sharing. I think the insight into how big companies are often divided into smaller – and sometimes competing – units holds true, as well as the importance of managers in smaller companies.

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