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.

eBay Origin Story

Founded in 1995 as AuctionWeb, the online marketplace now known as eBay became one of the earliest success stories on the internet. Two years after it launched, the platform sold its millionth item and an IPO soon followed in 1998.

While eBay’s premier online marketplace is now available in 180 countries, it’s important to mention that the company has also acquired various ancillary products and services over the years. These were once reflected in eBay’s organizational structure and served to streamline processes and management between the company and its subsidiaries. However, in recent times, the company has returned to its roots and its composition has changed accordingly.

So how is eBay structured, exactly? Let’s begin.

Multi-divisional operations

eBay was until recently a multi-divisional (M-form) organization. This meant that the company was split into several semi-autonomous units that were ultimately guided and controlled by headquarters.

eBay’s divisional units were grouped according to the services they provided and consisted of Marketplace, StubHub, Payments, and Classifieds.

Today, it is thought that a sole divisional unit remains:

  1. Marketplace – the most profitable division for the company which includes eBay.com and its various international sites.

As part of a move to focus on its C2C and B2C business, eBay either sold or spun-out companies across its other divisions between 2015 and 2020. 

Perhaps the most high-profile of these was PayPal, which became an independent company in 2015 after thirteen years as an eBay subsidiary. StubHub was also sold for $4.05 billion in 2019 and the entire Classifieds unit – which once included Craiglist and Kijiji – was divested in 2020.

Geographic divisions

In 2019, eBay announced it would be placing the company’s geographic divisions in a new structure under the leadership of Jay Lee, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Markets.

This new structure consists of the following regions:

  • Americas.
  • APAC (Asia-Pacific). 
  • UK.
  • Central and Southern Europe, and
  • Cross-Border Trade.

Leadership of function-based units

eBay has a hierarchical leadership structure with the current President and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Iannone at the helm. 

Before eBay divested most of its divisions, it was noted there that was a duplication of many management, administration, and staff activities.

Today, the company is smaller and arguably more efficient. Senior vice presidents manage the following functional areas for the company’s Marketplace division:

  • People.
  • eBay Europe.
  • Legal.
  • Growth.
  • Business and Strategy.
  • International.
  • Financial.
  • Technology, and
  • Product.

Board of Directors

eBay’s Board of Directors consists of 13 individuals who comprise four different committees:

  1. Audit Committee.
  2. Compensation & Human Capital Committee.
  3. Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee.
  4. Risk Committee.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.
  • In 2019, eBay announced it would be placing the company’s geographic divisions in a new structure under the command of SVP Jay Lee. 
  • eBay has a hierarchical leadership structure with various senior vice presidents in charge of function-based groups. There is also a 13-member Board of Directors responsible for audits, compensation, human capital, corporate governance, and risk.

Read Next: Organizational Structure.

Read Also: eBay Business Model.

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

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top
FourWeekMBA