Facebook Inc.’s Organizational Structure (Analysis)

Facebook Inc organizational structure characteristics implications advantages disadvantages online social media networking case study and analysis
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner in a Facebook chat on May 25, 2012. Facebook Inc.’s organizational structure enables flexibility in the online social media market. (Photo: Public Domain)

Facebook’s organizational structure is a variation of the traditional organizational structure adapted to suit this technology company’s needs. A company’s organizational structure defines the composition and design of the organization to meet its needs. Firms have different corporate structures based on the nature and goals of their businesses. In the case of Facebook Inc., the organizational structure is a response to the dynamics of the global online social media market. The nature and characteristics of the company’s social networking website partly dictates the company’s needs, which are translated to the features of the organizational structure that Facebook Inc. uses to support its business.

Facebook Inc. has an organizational structure that enables the social media business to expand and diversify. This organizational structure also yields competitive advantage to make Facebook’s online social network resilient against competition.

Features of Facebook’s Organizational Structure

Facebook has a matrix organizational structure. The key characteristics of this structure address the company’s organizational needs, especially the need for creativity and innovation. The following main features of Facebook’s organizational structure are notable:

  1. Corporate Function-Based Teams
  2. Geographic Divisions
  3. Product-Based Divisions

Corporate Function-Based Teams. Facebook Inc. maintains corporate teams based on their business functions in managing the operational activities throughout the organizational structure. This structural characteristic is based on the various needs of the online social media business, such as Research and Development (R&D). Because this is a matrix organizational structure, some function-based teams have blurred boundaries with geographic or product-based divisions in the company. A Facebook senior manager or executive heads each team. The following are the main corporate function-based teams in Facebook’s organizational structure:

  • Office of the CEO
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Platform Partnerships for France and Benelux
  • Product
  • Research and Development
  • Privacy
  • S. Public Policy
  • Marketing Communications for the Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, & Africa Region
  • Travel and Auto for the MENA Region
  • Middle East, Africa and Pakistan
  • Greater China Creative Shop
  • E-Commerce, Retail, & Online Services for Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan
  • India & Online Operations India
  • Technology & Engineering
  • Security
  • Legal
  • Global Marketing
  • Global Creative Strategy

Geographic Divisions. Regional divisions are another feature of Facebook’s organizational structure. Geographic location is a determinant of this structural characteristic. Facebook uses these divisions in light of the differences in social networking and online advertising market dynamics. This characteristic of the organizational structure also addresses differences among the behaviors of people and advertisers in using Facebook’s social networking website. For instance, Latin American advertisers tend to use the company’s social media services differently, compared to European advertisers. Human resources are also managed regionally. Some of these geographic divisions share resources and managers with function-based teams because of Facebook’s matrix structure. Even with these geographic divisions in its organizational structure, Facebook does not have senior corporate officers for each region. Instead, regional management teams are used. Facebook Inc.’s organizational structure includes the following geographic divisions:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe, Middle East & Africa
  • Asia & South Pacific

Product-Based Divisions. Facebook Inc. employs product-based divisions in its organizational structure. This structural feature involves corporate or global teams that manage the operational activities pertaining to specific products of the organization. Such global or corporate scope is a consequence of the digital and online nature of Facebook’s social media business. While most of the company’s operational activities are focused on its social networking website, potential expansion and diversification are also considered. Facebook is headed toward adding more product-based divisions into its organizational structure, as new products or ventures are added to the business. Facebook’s organizational structure includes the following main product-based divisions:

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Mobile Products

Facebook’s Organizational Structure Implications, Advantages & Disadvantages

The matrix organizational structure provides flexibility to Facebook’s Inc. and its global operations in the social media and online advertising market. This flexibility is a structural advantage that enables Facebook to easily respond to market changes and trends. Another advantage of this organizational structure is significant corporate control. For example, corporate function-based teams are a characteristic that allows Facebook Inc. to maintain control and direction on its operations worldwide. A disadvantage is the possible difficulty in implementing corporate directives throughout the organizational structure, considering variations in regional management initiatives.

References
  • Ashkenas, R., Ulrich, D., Jick, T., & Kerr, S. (2015). The boundaryless organization: Breaking the chains of organizational structure. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Facebook, Inc.: CEO and Executives – Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
  • Locations – Facebook Careers.
  • Withey, M. J., & Gellatly, I. R. (2015, January). Organizational Structure, Situation Strength and Employee Commitment: Test of a Process Model. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2015, No. 1, p. 14587). Academy of Management.
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