Before throwing away the org chart, companies should make sure employees have the clarity they need. A study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business and Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School found that employees really like hierarchical relationships over equal ones because of the clarity they provide: They’re easier to memorize and more predictable.
In a hierarchy, it quickly becomes apparent who gets access to whom, which positions are coveted because they come with better pay and status, and so forth. That’s not to say hierarchy is always better than equality in the workplace. In fact, plenty of companies use an egalitarian structure to foster unique environments in which workers are more free to innovate.