To begin with, an organization’s structure refers to the methodology used by a company to respond to various types of changes, assign roles and duties, and pass communication from one point to another. Also, the utilization of resources by an organization still encompasses organizational structure. This implies that the structure of an organization should be kept as dynamic as possible. Hence, the ability of an organization to survive or remain resilient even in turbulent times is determined by the dynamism of its structure (Daft, Daft & Murphy, 2010).
On the other hand, the organization’s type determines the nature of human behavior to be adopted. For instance, personal accountability is least felt when the size of an organization is large. Each human being feels less accountable for the operations of a relatively large organization. This is contrary to the case whereby the size of an organization is small. There is an increased sense of being directly responsible among human beings. This implies that the structure adopted by an organization determines the behavior of human beings in that particular organization.
Effects of organizational structures on members
The growth of a company impacts the organizational structure. Hence, a greater significance is derived from the structure of an organization when a company experiences growth. In particular, this impact can be felt by members of an organization when geographical expansion begins to take shape. When an organization expands to other locations, its structure is also affected. On the same note, additional manpower may be hired to facilitate the operations of an organization in different geographical locations. For example, a different managerial structure may be created by the new departmental managers who take charge of new locations where the organization has opened new branches. Moreover, the various elements of the business may demand the input of the executive team as well as the middle-level managers who are directly accountable to top managers.
The impact of human behavior on organizational structure may also be felt on the needs of customers (Thompson, 2009). Since customer service is an integral part of any organization, several business entities have put in place specialized departments that exclusively handle the queries emanating from customers. For example, certain areas of an organizational structure may be rearranged if there is a need to deal with a particular significant contract awarded by a client. For instance, a sales division can be created to take care of a particular need arising from a company’s client. This implies that the structure of an organization has to shift according to the needs of a client.
The structure of an organization can also be affected by the level of technology adopted in running daily operations. The workflow is also determined by the technological background of an organization. For example, group work was highly enhanced with the introduction of computer networks. Efficiency was improved even when people were working remotely through computer networks. Hence, positions can be created and also eliminated by the presence of technology within an organization. A high number of filing clerks can no longer be necessary when filing is executed electronically. On the same note, a technologically savvy organization may need the creation of technical departments that oversee the growth and maintenance of computer networks. Therefore, changes are experienced on the organizational structure as the landscape of technological platform continues to evolve.
Behavioral implications of different organizational designs
Job design refers to the isolation of various functions of an organization into units that perform different tasks. Job designs explore the relationship of various roles and responsibilities within an organization. The dynamic business environment has driven managers to come up with measures that can assist in designing different types of job groups at the workplace to boost efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. For example, the current IBM management structure is made up of a pool of well-experienced managers. These are adequately-skilled managers who are charged with performance improvement within the organization. The management of the company is designed so that the functions of all the departments can be harmonized and run smoothly without a lot of hitches. The functions of various divisions within the organization are coordinated from a central position even though the decentralization of roles has been implemented. The organization design of IBM has been amalgamated in various ways. In any case, the organization structure has been created in such a way that the roles played by all the departments are stipulated. The organization has four vice presidents who are directly accountable to the president (manager) of the entire organization.
Google has a very large number of employees as one of its organizational design. Hence, the organization has been compelled to adopt traditional management and practices and designs. A large number of employees are used by Google to reach out to various networks of customers located across the globe. Better still, the organizational design allows the establishment of departmental heads who are responsible for various roles and duties of managing operations at the lower levels. The hierarchical form of management is quite lean to eliminate the high level of bureaucratic command.
Singapore Airlines has a set of job design positions that are well coordinated under the ministry of finance and government of Singapore. There are vice presidents who make vital decisions on behalf of managers and lawyers. Finally, employees or the operating members of staff are directly answerable to the senior managers.
Variations in different types of structures
When choosing the type of organizational structure to adopt, managers often seek the type of structure that can coordinate the moving parts of a company most effectively and efficiently. The most appropriate team of people and work leads to the best results that can drive the profitability of an organization upwards. Hence, the type of structure determines the overall well being of an organization and therefore, some organizational structures may be more superior than others as described below.
In the functional structure, people are usually grouped according to the broad areas of operation of an organization. For example, various departments such as production, human resources, finance, and marketing are allowed to perform their duties independently under a team of professionals. One of the profound merits of this type of hierarchical structure is that clear lines of command are created. Also, accountability and communication are enhanced. It is relatively easy for workers to coordinate themselves while undertaking various activities within an organization. On the other hand, suffering may be created when interdepartmental communication is allowed to flourish under departmental focus. This type of structure leads to a bureaucratic chain of authority. Therefore, it may not be a suitable structure in cases whereby urgent feedback is required before a function can be executed. This type of organizational structure is also the least flexible to changes taking place within an organization.
When employees are categorized according to their customers, product line or geographical base, a divisional structure is created. Although each division is allowed to run its activities independently, some sensitive functions such as financial control may be handled by the top management (Buhler, 2011). One of the major setbacks of this structure is that roles can be easily duplicated among different divisions. Therefore, it is not economical since it leads to a loss of resources and an overall lack of efficiency. Nonetheless, each product line is allowed to flourish when this type of structure is adopted. Moreover, both the cultural and geographical variations are catered for when the divisional structure is adopted.
In the matrix structure, the merits of both the divisional and functional structures are derived since it is a blend of the two organizational structures (Puffer, 2004). Each employee is accountable to a senior manager. Although the functional expertise of workers is a major benefit derived by teams, this structure has its own set of drawbacks. For example, conflict of interests may be created bearing in mind that each worker is under the guidance of two senior managers. Power struggles can easily erupt when this structure is put in place.
From the above examples of structures, it can be seen that some organizational structures are more superior. However, it is not proper to generalize the argument since each of the types of structure has its own merits and downsides.
Buhler, P. M. (2011). Changing organizational structures and their impact on managers. Supervision, 72(2), 24-26.
Daft, R. L., Daft, J. & Murphy, H. W. (2010). Organization: Theory and Design. New York, NY: Cengage Learning EMEA.
Puffer, S. (2004). Changing organizational structures: An interview with Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Academy of Management Executive, 18(2), 24-30.
Thompson, D. J. (2009). Approaches to organizational design. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.