A Seemingly Horizontal Structure

During one of my many conversations with my internship supervisor, I was given the breakdown of Common Purpose’s organizational structure. This structure is one of the most confusing aspects of my internship, and one that I am still learning as I begin the second week of my internship. As a member of the Student Experiences team, I am supervised by the Development Director who oversees much of the programming in Europe, the Middle-East, and Asia. On the other hand, the COO manages the logistics of the entire team and ensures that budgeting, travel, and the program experience for partners and employees run smoothly. The COO also oversees the programming that the Development Director is responsible for delivering. Under the COO are the program managers that manage the delivery, or execution of the leadership programs. These program managers also develop the scheduling and logistics of the programs on the ground. At the top of this structure  is the CEO of our group who oversees the business deals and partnerships which are necessary to keeping the team functioning. The organizational structure of the student experiences team mirrors that of other teams in the organization. Each team has a CEO that manages partnerships necessary to keep the team running.

Above all of the teams is the Group CEO who sits at the very top of the organization. The Group CEO oversees the activity of the smaller teams, and answers to the Trust’s board.

Although the organizational structure seems daunting and hierarchical, I have found that the working relationships in the office are more horizontal than expected. On my first day, both the COO and CEO took me on a tour of the city and answered questions that I had about the team’s structure. From this experience, I gathered that those at the top of the organization are easily accessible.  In fact, the COO of our team and I have worked closely together on a project this past week, and are in constant communication about work that needs to be finished.Work is typically handed down the hierarchy through direct communication. The CEO of our team seems to have a relationship with everyone o the team, and directly contacts us when he needs a task completed.

From the first week of my internship, I have noticed that because our team is small, those at the top of our team are more easily accessible.



One thought on “A Seemingly Horizontal Structure

  • June 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    So each team as a CEO, COO, development director and program managers? How many teams (like student experiences) exist and are oversee by the Group CEO? Great that the top team leadership has been so involved with your on-boarding, that makes for a really nice environment. Does work get communicated – say to you – by the COO, development director, and program managers in the student experiences team or just the CEO of the team? You address structure and communication, would have been good to address at least one other element in the prompt.

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