What is Corporate Structure?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

A corporate structure is essentially the layout of the various departments, divisions, and job positions that interact to conduct the business of the company. Generally, such a structure is necessary in order to ensure that all-important tasks are conducted according to the guidelines of the corporation, as well as providing lines of communication and authority for the overall function of the company. Even the smallest of businesses have a corporate structure, although the exact format for the structure may be extremely simplistic.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

A corporate structure usually helps to accomplish three things. First, the corporate layout helps to define all the areas of responsibility within the company. The accounting department is understood to handle all financial matters, such as paying the bills of the company and also issuing invoices for services rendered. The sales department works to ensure there are efforts to market the goods and services produced to the consumer market. Provisions for executive, managerial, and administrative matters are also normally accounted for in the structure, so that everyone in the organization knows where a given issue should be addressed.

Along with providing reference points for the handling of various functions, a corporate structure also helps to establish a line of communication for employees to utilize. This makes it possible for comments, questions, and ideas to flow easily from anywhere in the organization to someone with authority to act on the information effectively. By establishing this line of communication, the structure helps to ensure effective interaction and also minimize time wasted by information moving through the company in a disorganized manner.

Lastly, the corporate structure helps to establish a working chain or line of authority. Corporations often require responsible persons placed at various points in the structure to ensure tasks are handle properly and in accordance with company bylaws. By granting specific levels of authority to persons all along the corporate structure, including making persons accountable to other persons for their competency in exercising authority, it provides a checks and balance system to keep the company on an even keel. Employees who are disgruntled with immediate supervisors have someone who can hear their grievances, while overseers may step in and conduct the tasks assigned to an employee when needed.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


This description is more properly assigned to an "organizational structure" or "organization chart". In contrast with this a corporate structure details the intersections of ownership. control and management.

For example: Corporation A is a publicly traded joint stock company incorporated under the laws of Delaware, USA.

Board of Directors: name, position; name, position,


Other Officers: name, position; name, position, etc.

Corporation A operates the following companies as wholly owned joint stock corporations.

Corporation B. Incorporated under the laws of Delaware, USA

Supervisory Board: name, position; name, position, etc.

Management Board: name, position; name, position, etc.

Corporation C. incorporated under the laws of the United Kingdom.

Supervisory Board: name, position; name, position, etc.

Management Board: name, position; name, position, etc.

Other Officers: name, position; name, position, etc.

Corporation D...


Most of these companies have strategic plans that allow them to expand into other markets. For example, Target explores the use of grocery stores within their own stores and called these stores Super Target.

This was in response to the growing recession and it was a way for Target to capture more market share in a time when most retailers’ businesses were receding.

The Target corporate structure developed these stores in order to be a one stop shopping destination for consumers. They have recently entered the Canadian markets and looking to expand further.


Wow that is a lot of executives, but a company as large as Disney or even General Electric is probably set up the same.

The General Electric corporate structure is similar to Disney in that there is a Chairman and CEO which is Jeff Imlet and a President and Chairman for international business is Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco.

I know that the Target organizational management really has Gregg Steinhafel as the President and CEO.

Target is mainly a domestic company that is now entering the Canadian markets. Their corporate business structure is smaller and more inline with the average retailer in the United States.


The Walt Disney corporate structure has the CEO and President fill the same position. For example, the current President and CEO in the Disney corporate structure is Roger Iger who succeeded Michael Eisner in 2005.

They employ cast members for the theme parks and have four branches that employ people within the company.

The media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products are divisions within the corporate structure for Disney. For example, the studio entertainment hires digital artists while the media networks will hire sportscasters for their ESPN network.

Corporate and business units split up the management team. Thomas O Stuggs is the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts while Andy Bird is the Chairman of Walt Disney International. The Chairman of Disney Consumer Products around the world is Andrew Mooney.

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