Office Teams

(P1) The TRADITIONAL office structure is CRUMBLING. Organizations are moving away from the TOP-DOWN HIERARCHIES. In the past, jobs were organized by function—sales people worked with sales people; marketing people with marketing—and success meant moving UP THE CORPORATE LADDER. The goal was always to have a more IMPRESSIVE JOB TITLE, a higher level of responsibility, and more power to tell people what to do.

(P2) But in a modern workplace, people have less-defined jobs and move from project to project. “We’re now operating businesses as networks of teams,” said Josh Bersin of the business consulting company Deloitte, which did a survey on this topic. Companies that haven’t already shift to the team-based structure are thinking seriously about it. 92 percent of the companies in the survey mention organizational redesign as a top PRIORITY.

(P3) Studies have found that an EMPHASIS on hierarchy and who has the higher job title leads to conflict in teams. “The traditional hierarchical structure doesn’t necessarily work in every company,” said Jeff Luttrell, director of talent acquisition at Alorica. “Companies that depend too much on hierarchy can’t innovate and adapt.”

(P4) So companies are creating more FLEXIBLE structures. What these look like depends on the organization.

(P5) While hierarchy may be HEADED TOWARD a less dominant role in business organization, the move to team-based work has often been difficult. The same Deloitte survey found that 74 percent of employees rated their work environment as too structurally complex. “Companies are struggling with it,” said Bersin. A common complaint among workers is having to report to many managers and team members instead of just one SUPERVISOR.

WORDS: 268



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. How is your company organized? Departments, teams, hierarchies, or a combination of these?
  3. Do you report to one supervisor or several?
  4. Do you like to work in teams, or do you prefer to work on your own?
  5. Are the OFFICE POLITICS in your company stressful?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Top-down
  • Up the corporate ladder
  • Job title
  • Head toward
  • Office politics

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