Top-heavy organisation

I’ve been hearing this recently. That the organisation someone is working for is top-heavy. What does that even mean? Too many people ordering others around but no one to follow the orders?

That would seem to be the simple interpretation of this phenomena. It may have to do with Singapore shifting away from its reliance on foreign manpower, towards increasing localisation. It may also have to do with the fact that there are more companies relocating their operations to Singapore (say, from Hong Kong) and the roles that were kept for people who were relocating from Hong Kong were the more senior roles and they were expecting to hire junior people from Singapore market.

What I suspect is that this is a function of the changing aspirations of the millennials and the newer generation. People are beginning to find it stinky to be serving the whole capitalist-industrial complex and sick of being a cog. And through the financial markets, as well as the increasing mass affluence, the market for new products, services is growing. This means opportunities to be your own boss, to be freelancers, or form a small business.

Customers are becoming more open-minded and novelty-seeking, and this generation that would have formed the middle and junior management in large companies suddenly decide that they relish the freedom of their own business more than working for “progression”. Time is the real thing that is scarce – there is abundant work to do, and enough to make a living and survive. A social status bought with one’s time and health is no longer worth the while.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this means big and traditionally relevant organizations may start to see a decline towards mediocrity as they fail to retain quality workforce. Until they start being able to create the kind of autonomy and conditions that encourage good quality talents to move out of corporate, those organisations will need to make do with mediocrity.