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Falling Flat?

How flat is too flat when it comes to management? You'd better find out before it's too late.

This story appears in the January 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Bill Gilmer runs his 16-person commercial printing company with as few managers as possible. "We're an extremely flat organization," says the owner of Wordsprint Inc. in Wytheville, Virginia. Gilmer, 48, has made big investments in technology to make sure each of his press operators and other key employees has all the information he or she needs to make decisions without a supervisor.

"Everything is in the system, from schedules to the latest breaking news about a job, so every worker has access at their keyboards to the same information as management," Gilmer says. "So why have management?"

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