Let’s take a slightly different approach to answering your question. Are you more comfortable in a large, bureaucratic organization that has defined policies for everything, and where you have a specific role? Or are you more comfortable in a small organization that may not have as many written rules, and where you may be able to do many different things?
If you do not like being under an administrative regime, you are not comfortable at all with playing politics, or have a very strong sense of ownership of your job, a small business may be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if you want to be more specialized, work within a broader framework, and / or enjoy the political aspects of building your career, you can enjoy a larger company. Either way, you are likely to be happier (and therefore more successful) in an organization that is a good fit for the way you want to work.
Deciding whether to go with a large or small company can be one of the most important decisions you make while looking for a job, especially if it is early in your career. That said, there is no right or wrong answer and will depend largely on what you expect to achieve and how you work best in an organization.
Here we name some of the major differences between these two worlds:
• You have more obvious structure: when you enter a large company, you are participating in a machine that has been around for a long time. As such, there is usually an established way of doing things. As soon as you enter, you will know what your job is, how you fit into your department, and over time you will learn the obvious ways (if any) for promotions. This is not the right route for everyone, but if you are of the mindset of retiring in the same company where you have worked the last 30 years, a large company is the best option.
• Changes happen slowly: Shaking things up in a big company can take a lot of time. Even if your company is open to new ideas (which is not always a fact), getting your department to agree to move to a new model or create a product, can take a lot of time.
• You will not know some co-workers: No matter how social or friendly you are, if you work in a company with hundreds or even thousands of employees, it will be impossible to meet everyone. Inevitably, some aspect of your work will be affected by someone you never met. It may be the CEO, payroll manager or legal department, but someone will make a decision that determines how it works and it can be difficult or even impossible to talk to that person directly. A good company will provide a method for employees to express serious concerns to top management, but this is not always guaranteed or effective.
• Compliance can be determined by your environment: A related problem is that your success and happiness can be determined by your location within the company. Working with a dysfunctional group can reduce the quality of your work, despite your best efforts. It can even affect your ability to move up in the company. Of course, working with unpleasant people is a universal threat, but detrimental effects can be more pronounced if there is a network of superiors and management departments between you and the part of the company in which you work.
• Your success is visible: In a small business, a great job can be seen by everyone. This makes it easier to distinguish yourself with certain skills. Their actions are also more significant. Especially if you are starting out in a new career, working for a small business is a great way to establish your skills and get referrals and reputation that you can follow for years. However, this is a double-edged sword, as it will also happen when you mess something up.
• Your company is more agile: here you generally have access to many more moving parts of the company. Being able to speak directly to your senior management can result in a much faster movement. What may take days or weeks in the filing and approval processes in a large company can be summed up in knocking on the door of your boss in a small one.
• Your responsibilities can be more varied: In a smaller company, you may be required to exercise a different skill set without leaving your desk. Especially at the outset, it may be called upon to perform more functions outside of a narrowly defined job description. If you enjoy using a variety of skills without changing jobs, learning about different processes and nurturing your creativity beyond the comfort zone, a smaller company may be right for you.
• Compensation is not one of the attractions: smaller companies usually they do not have as broad a benefit package as large companies do. If you are willing to sacrifice money for a good work environment and have the right opportunities for growth (those that match your skills and interests), and that allow you to move forward in an organization you like, this will undoubtedly not be a Problem in a small business.
Ultimately, the type of company is going to determine largely what suits you best. Not everyone is made to thrive in a corporation with thousands of employees. It is important to keep in mind where your particular personality and skill set can be used more efficiently. If the company improves and continues to improve, you know that the business will expand and eventually become a great one. Then you will not need to find a great company to work with because you already work for one. Do you prefer to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in the sea?