Popular business writers often say flat organizations are better than hierarchical organizations, and small businesses are better than big businesses. By “better” they usually mean more creative, nimble, fun, and ultimately profitable. But they don’t often try to explain why small and flat is better than big and hierarchical. They support their argument with examples of big sluggish companies and small agile companies, but that’s as far as they go.
Paul Graham posted a new essay called You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss in which he also argues for small and flat over big and hierarchical. However, his line of reasoning is fresh. I haven’t decided what I think of his points, but as usual his writing is creative and thought-provoking.
Update: See Jeff Atwood’s comments, Paul Graham’s Participatory Narcissism.