I currently work in a software agency of less than 20 people. Before that I worked in a company of over 4 000 people.
Moving from a massive organization to a tight-knit group of techies I assumed that the way I would interact with other people in my workplace would change dramatically. In my previous company, it was impossible to get to know everyone in our business unit. I would end up building rapport mostly with my team members.
When starting in my current company, I thought that I would create equally meaningful relationships with each one of my co-workers almost effortlessly. I considered the whole company to be my team.
Here's the problem: 20 people is small for an organization but large for a team.
Let's start with the issue of coordinating collective work. If you want to connect two people with lines of communication, one line is enough. If it's three people, you need three lines. Double that to six people and you need 15 lines. While your team size might grow linearly, your lines of communication won't.
The next issue is motivational loss. In 1913, French agricultural engineer Maximilien Ringelmann found that the more people you have pulling a rope in a tug of war, the less effort each individual will put in. When our team sizes increase we start to contribute less and less.
Lastly, there is the issue of relational loss studied by author and Ph.D. Jennifer Mueller. When we work in large teams we perceive a lack of connection to other people. Because of this, we feel that there is less support and help available for us. This leads to stress and low performance.
None of this means that I don't have a strong, meaningful connection to my company. Or that I don't care about my co-workers. It just means that I expect different things from different people. The support and trust I receive from my core team is different from the support and trust I receive from my workplace.
The feelings you have towards your current workplace might have a lot more to do with your current team composition than the actual organization itself.