After my first week interning at Fulkerson Kennedy & Company, I’ve noticed many similarities to the articles and readings we studied this semester in Theories & Models, especially in regards to the organizational structure of companies and how they emerge. The firm is comprised of 5 interns (two full-time and three part-time), 5 associates, 3 senior associates, and the two partners, Ashley Kennedy and Tonya Fulkerson. Ashley and Tonya started this boutique political consulting firm on their own ten years ago and have watched it grow ever since. It has been interesting to observe how the organizational hierarchy works in the firm through the firm’s employees on a daily basis.
What I’ve noticed is that the 2 partners are rarely seen in the office. They are generally out meeting with senators or other politicians, traveling for business, making phone calls in their personal offices, or doing other higher-profile work. Ashley and Tonya both have separate, large offices with the doors mainly closed. The 3 senior associates each have their own offices as well, however smaller and they generally keep their doors open in order to speak with the associates and interns more easily. I’ve had much more interaction with the senior associates than the partners, however they are also occasionally gone traveling or meeting with clients. I have had the most interaction with the firm’s 5 associates, who are all seated in the same big central room at different desks, and the interns sit in the middle at a large table together. I get all of my assignments and most of my work directly from the associates and help them with whatever research projects or other tasks they have throughout the week. They are also the first people I would go to if I have any questions regarding my work or internship. We have a much more casual and informal relationship with the associates as they are close in age to the interns. The associates are almost all always available and do their work in the office for the most part.
This reminded me of the studies we observed in Theories and Models regarding small scale societies and how research in the field can reveal bigger implications for large scale societies. This example in my office is most similar to organization structure and how information flow and how follower motivation is impacted. It was observed in small scale societies that leaders and followers typically interact face-t0-face, which creates a personal relationship with leaders involving a reciprocal exchange of ideas. In this firm, employee performance and motivation seems to be improved by the implementation of nested hierarchies within the firm. I’ve observed personal relationships forming between different employee ranks, decentralized decision-making, and leaders multiple levels interacting with followers and serving in some sort of leadership capacity. It will be interesting to see how these relationships play out for the rest of the summer.