CORPORATE STRUCTURE EXAMPLE: Meaning, Examples & Difference

corporate structure
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When you establish a corporation, you must set up the owners and managers in accordance with the guidelines outlined in your state’s corporation statutes, assigning them duties and granting them authority. Shareholders are the company’s owners in a corporate structure, and the board of directors, officers, and staff typically work together to oversee the company’s operations. In this article, we will be looking at the meaning of corporate structure, its example, and the chart structure with its various levels.

Corporate Structure 

Understanding the duties and obligations of each job and conducting business according to the rules is crucial since failing to do so could jeopardize your liability protection (meaning the owners could be personally responsible for the debts of the business). In addition to preserving your personal assets, operating your firm in accordance with corporate structure will actually make it run more smoothly and successfully.

The Roles in a Corporation Company

You should become familiar with the various corporate responsibilities and how they interact in order to comprehend the business structure. The owners and management of a corporation can be classified into one of the following groups, as will be discussed in more detail below:

  • Shareholders: The company’s owners are its shareholders.
  • Board of Directors: The board is in charge of the corporation’s overall management.
  • Officers: Officers are in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company.
  • Employees: Everyone else who performs work for the company is an employee. There is no requirement for employees in corporations (though they must have shareholders, officers, and directors).

The same person may hold many positions, but only if the state’s laws allow it (as explored below). For instance, if legal in your jurisdiction, you may serve as a board member, secretary (an officer role), and shareholder.

#1. Shareholders

The shareholders are the company’s owners and have made financial investments in it. “Shares” of stock are used to symbolize ownership interests. A corporation may only have a small number of private investors, or it may “go public,” allowing the broader public to purchase stock in the company and invest.

Voting on important corporate decisions, such as appointing or dismissing board members, folding the company, or altering the bylaws, allows shareholders to engage in the organization. Shareholders are not involved in other business operations or the operation of the corporation unless they occupy another position.

#2. The Board of Directors

A board of directors is a group of people chosen by the shareholders to oversee and make financial decisions for the firm. The board determines things like when to issue shares, when to pay dividends to shareholders, and whether to merge with another company. Board members have a responsibility to the shareholders to prioritize the needs of the company over their own and to maintain its effectiveness.

#3. Corporate Officers and Employees

The board hires officers to manage the day-to-day operations even though it is ultimately in charge of the company’s overarching direction. Officers have the option of hiring personnel to aid in managing and operating the company. These are typical officer positions:

  • President or Chief Executive Officer (CEO): The CEO is the highest-ranking corporate executive and reports directly to the board.
  • Vice President or Chief Operations Officer (COO): The COO is in charge of everyday operations, including marketing and hiring, and reports to the CEO.
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Treasurer: The CFO keeps track of and examines financial information for the company.
  • Secretary: The secretary is in charge of keeping track of business paperwork and recording shareholder meetings.

Again, confirm the officer requirements with the laws of your jurisdiction. While a COO, CFO, or Secretary could be elective, a CEO is frequently required by law. While some jurisdictions permit overlap, certain states forbid the same person from holding more than one officer position.

The Importance of Corporate Structure

Owners and managers are segregated by the corporate structure. A small family firm with a clear structure can develop into a global trading enterprise. A well-defined structure aids a company in defining its objectives. Startups can benefit from corporate structure since it clarifies roles and responsibilities. This may also draw investors who are familiar with how businesses operate.

Reasons to Consider Using a Corporate Structure

  • You prefer the established hierarchy. The most gifted individuals can fill the most important positions in a firm because of this clear framework. Shareholders can influence choices, and officers can conduct activities.
  • A distinct division of corporate duties is what you want. The roles of board members and executives should be clear when assessing a company’s health. For instance, experts advise keeping the duties of the CEO and chairman distinct. Also, they seek diversity among the board members.

Reasons to Consider Not Using a Corporate Structure

  • You desire a more democratic system. Instead, think about forming a limited liability company (LLC). Members own LLCs and participate in decision-making. LLCs may choose a manager to oversee day-to-day operations so that members can take a break from management.
  • You favor a decentralized organization. The sharing economy is an example. These businesses employ a distributed database, often known as a blockchain, to store information that is not specific to one location or processor. They frequently have a communal focus.
  • You desire a flat building. For more creative businesses or startups that employ many millennial workers, conventional corporate structures do not often work.

Corporate Structure Example 

Three different organizational structure types stand out, the first of which has three subcategories. We’ll go through their traits and give examples of various business sectors that best fit each organizational structure style.

#1. Structures that are Line, Functional, and Line-and-Staff

1. Corporate Structure Example – Line

A president or CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is placed at the top of the traditional line organization. Directors or Vice Presidents (VPs) of particular areas come next, then managers, and so on till operational staff. It has a fairly inflexible structure, low information sharing, and lack of collaboration typical of bureaucratic businesses.

Although it is uncommon today, it was once common in academic, military, and even religious groups. In this approach, the activity of one department doesn’t affect that of another, and the staff merely follows the immediate superior’s “command.”

2. Corporate Structure Example – Functional

The distinction between the functional organizational structure and the line structure is that employees in a certain area must report to all directors. For instance, the HR (Human Resource) manager might ask a member of the financial team to handle a situation relating to this area. The manager of information technology, or IT, may follow suit, and so on. It’s a strategy for avoiding work concentration and overspecialization in your industry.

This sample of an organizational structure is appropriate for small businesses like manufacturing, hotels, medium-sized auto repair shops, medical offices, or other industries where informal systems allow for functional control over personnel without leading to conflicts amongst managers.

3. Corporate Structure Example – Line-and-Staff

Similar to a line structure, but with staff members advising, opening, reporting, authorizing, and supporting the organization instead. Examples of this type of organizational structure include insurance corporations, engineering companies, law firms, regulatory bodies, etc. In other words, businesses that require sporadic technical assistance for personnel managing or handling front-line staff’s daily tasks.

#2. Project-Based Structure

This organizational structure is frequently used by highly dynamic and creative businesses, including software developers, architecture firms, projects involving the installation of specialized industrial equipment, and event planning agencies. It is distinguished by a number of specialized workers who are prepared to put together a work team as needed. These team members answer to a separate project manager for each project. A manager appoints a new project and leader when they finish the current one.

#3. Matrix Structures

This structure is extensively utilized by businesses who, although having project-based organizational structures, also think that functional oversight is crucial and necessary, such as businesses that frequently launch new products and marketing initiatives. Consultancy for the installation of ERP Software is one example of a business sector that would profit from this style of organizational hierarchy.

Every project needs to happen separately. To ensure that everything is in line with the company’s policy and level of services, it is crucial to have a senior manager in charge of each department (financial, operations, HR, marketing, etc.).

Corporate Structure Chart 

Business structures may grow incredibly complex; occasionally, the only way to fully comprehend how everything fits together is to see it all on paper. You may use this corporate structure chart example to help you put your company’s chart on paper so you can explain it to stakeholders like lenders and investors. To make the cells supplied in the sample fit your organization, just add, delete, or alter them.

A corporate structure chart is corporate documentation describing the connections between different entities controlled by your organization across several jurisdictions, including subsidiaries. The structure of your group firms is shown graphically in a group structure chart. It gives details on the connections and networks between your company, its subsidiaries, and other group companies. It also provides details on the existing reporting mechanisms.

Why are Corporate Structure Charts Important for Business Today?

  • Using a group structure chart, your business can:
  • Describe your company’s organizational hierarchy.
  • Establish the connections between your business and the other group companies.
  • Recognize the effects of direct and indirect ownership among group companies.
  • Determine each entity’s contribution to the portfolio of your organization.

Why is Corporate Structure Charts Important for an Event Tomorrow?

A group structure chart is crucial for tomorrow’s event because it:

  • Determines the extent of your company’s geographic and industry diversification.
  • Analyzes the areas of concentration for your business in light of its ownership structure.
  • Determines the chain of command and the channels of communication within your group of companies.
  • Analyzes and use your group firms’ synergies in your business
  • Identifies the group structure’s most valuable entities.
  • Analyzes the degree of centralization in the organizational structure of your company.

Advantages of Using Corporate Structure Charts

  • Assistance with appropriate firm valuation
  • Greater openness regarding the connections, duties, and responsibilities between your group companies
  • Consistency among your group companies’ policies and procedures
  • By assessing the capabilities of the group companies, the potential for expanding business offerings and geographic reach can be found.
  • Flexibility in moving resources between businesses
  • Helps staff members and officials to assist regulators, investors, and other interested parties in understanding the organization’s structure.

Drawbacks of Ignoring Corporate Structure Charts

  • The lack of a defined organizational hierarchy prevents the use of synergies
  • Ineffective decision-making skills and a lack of comprehension of your level of control over your subsidiaries
  • Asset valuation mistakes could be made when group company ownership is not clearly specified.

What Are The 3 Basic Corporate Structures? 

There are three main business structures: the sole proprietorship, the partnership, and the corporation. Each has advantages and drawbacks of its own. Below is a summary of the information you should know about each one.

What is an Example of a Corporate Structure? 

A committee of directors and the management team make up the most typical business structure in the US. The two types of directors that are most frequently found on boards of directors are outside directors and inside directors, who have the ability to render objective assessments.

What is the Purpose of Corporate Structure? 

Organizational structures are crucial for firms because they support the implementation of effective decision-making procedures. Businesses can make better decisions more quickly by giving specialized jobs to lower-level staff.

What is the Principle of Corporate Structure? 

Accountability, openness, fairness, responsibility, and risk management are the fundamental tenets of corporate governance.

What are the Levels of the Corporate Structure?

Business organizations typically have four layers of hierarchy: directors, including the chairman, executive directors, and non-executive directors. They take the helm of strategic company operations and are ultimately accountable to all stakeholders financially.


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