• A flexible organisation is one that is able to adapt and respond relatively quickly to changes in its external environment in order to gain advantage and sustain its competitive position


  • A key feature of most flexible organisations is the shift that has taken place in the structure of the workforce.
  • Core workers - permanent, full time, salaried, central to the organisation and likely to be committed to the aims and objectives of the organisation
  • Peripheral, temporary or part-time workers, less secure, easy to replace, less likely to be committed to the organisation’s aims and objectives

Charles Handy Shamrock Organisation


  • The removal of one of more layers of hierarchy from the management structure of an organisation structure. This leads to a flatter hierarchical structure with a span of control

Flexible employment contracts

  • Working arrangements that give some degree of flexibility about how long, where, when and at what times employees work; the flexibility about how long, where, when and at what times employees work; the flexibility can be in terms of working time, working location or the pattern of working.

Organic vs Mechanistic Structures

  • Organic structures (also known as flat) have a wide span of control, decentralisation, low specialisation and formalisation and loose departmentalisation. Chain of command can be sometimes difficult to decipher.
  • Mechanistic structures are typified by narrow span of control, high centralisation, specialisation and formalisation. Chain of command long or short would be clear.

Knowledge and information management

  • Information management is the provision of the right information, to the right people at the right time.
  • Knowledge management goes beyond this and not only provides just information, but insight, guidance, experience and know-how