airbnb-organizational-structure

Airbnb Organizational Struture

Airbnb follows a holacracy model, or a sort of flat organizational structure, where teams are organized for projects, to move quickly and iterate fast, thus keeping a lean and flexible approach. Airbnb also moved to a hybrid model where employees can work from anywhere and meet on a quarterly basis to plan ahead, and connect to each other.

The five key features of Airbnb’s new organizational design

In April 2022, Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb just announced the new organizational design for Airbnb, as he pointed out the five key features:

  • 1. You can work from home or the office—whatever works best for you.
  • 2. You can move anywhere in the country, like from San Francisco to Nashville, and your compensation won’t change.
  • 3. You have the flexibility to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location..
  • 4. We’ll meet up regularly for team gatherings. Most employees will connect in person every quarter for about a week at a time (some more frequently).
  • 5. To pull this off, we’ll operate off of a multi-year roadmap with two major product releases a year, which will keep us working in a highly coordinated way.
airbnb-organizaitional-design
airbnb-organizaitional-design
airbnb-organizaitional-design
airbnb-organizaitional-design

Brian Chesky highlighted:

Why did we come up with this design?

The world has become more flexible. Our business wouldn’t have recovered as quickly from the pandemic if it hadn’t been for millions of people working from Airbnbs.”

And he further highlighted:

We also had the most productive two-year period in our company’s history—all while working remotely.

But he also emphasized:

But there’s a tension.

The most meaningful connections happen in person. Zoom is great for maintaining relationships, but it’s not the best way to deepen them. And some creative work is best done in the same room.

And concluded:

The right solution should combine the efficiency of Zoom with the meaningful human connection that happens when people come together.

Our design attempts to combine the best of both worlds.

From open floors and on-site perks to flexibility and remote working

As Brian Chesky highlighted:

Two decades ago, Silicon Valley startups popularized open floor plans and on-site perks. Today’s startups have embraced flexibility and remote work. I think this will become the predominant way companies work 10 years from now

This is a critical point, as the trend to understand is exactly that. Today’s employees might value way more flexibility and remote working, rather than open floors, and on-site perks.

Read Next: Airbnb Business Model Analysis, Airbnb Unit Economics.

Organizational Structure Case Studies

Airbnb Organizational Structure

airbnb-organizational-structure
Airbnb follows a holacracy model, or a sort of flat organizational structure, where teams are organized for projects, to move quickly and iterate fast, thus keeping a lean and flexible approach. Airbnb also moved to a hybrid model where employees can work from anywhere and meet on a quarterly basis to plan ahead, and connect to each other.

eBay Organizational Structure

ebay-organizational-structure
eBay was until recently a multi-divisional (M-form) organization with semi-autonomous units grouped according to the services they provided. Today, eBay has a single division called Marketplace, which includes eBay and its international iterations.

IBM Organizational Structure

ibm-organizational-structure
IBM has an organizational structure characterized by product-based divisions, enabling its strategy to develop innovative and competitive products in multiple markets. IBM is also characterized by function-based segments that support product development and innovation for each product-based division, which include Global Markets, Integrated Supply Chain, Research, Development, and Intellectual Property.

Sony Organizational Structure

sony-organizational-structure
Sony has a matrix organizational structure primarily based on function-based groups and product/business divisions. The structure also incorporates geographical divisions. In 2021, Sony announced the overhauling of its organizational structure, changing its name from Sony Corporation to Sony Group Corporation to better identify itself as the headquarters of the Sony group of companies skewing the company toward product divisions.

Facebook Organizational Structure

facebook-organizational-structure
Facebook is characterized by a multi-faceted matrix organizational structure. The company utilizes a flat organizational structure in combination with corporate function-based teams and product-based or geographic divisions. The flat organization structure is organized around the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, and the key executives around him. On the other hand, the function-based teams based on the main corporate functions (like HR, product management, investor relations, and so on).

Google Organizational Structure

google-organizational-structure
Google (Alphabet) has a cross-functional (team-based) organizational structure known as a matrix structure with some degree of flatness. Over the years, as the company scaled and it became a tech giant, its organizational structure is morphing more into a centralized organization.

Tesla Organizational Structure

tesla-organizational-structure
Tesla is characterized by a functional organizational structure with aspects of a hierarchical structure. Tesla does employ functional centers that cover all business activities, including finance, sales, marketing, technology, engineering, design, and the offices of the CEO and chairperson. Tesla’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, decide the strategic direction of the company, with international operations given little autonomy.

McDonald’s Organizational Structure

mcdonald-organizational-structure
McDonald’s has a divisional organizational structure where each division – based on geographical location – is assigned operational responsibilities and strategic objectives. The main geographical divisions are the US, internationally operated markets, and international developmental licensed markets. And on the other hand, the hierarchical leadership structure is organized around regional and functional divisions.

Walmart Organizational Structure

walmart-organizational-structure
Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches. On the one hand, Walmart follows a hierarchical structure, where the current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior, and directives are sent from top-level management. On the other hand, the function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

Microsoft Organizational Structure

microsoft-organizational-structure
Microsoft has a product-type divisional organizational structure based on functions and engineering groups. As the company scaled over time it also became more hierarchical, however still keeping its hybrid approach between functions, engineering groups, and management.

Read Next: Organizational Structure

Read Also: Business Model

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