Human Resources Management
Some Thoughts on Organisational Structure

The word ‘structure’ is an important subject of discussion in business studies. It is often the issues of discussion in company’s meeting and it is an important concept for management of organizational behavior. The concept of organizational culture is important because it describe the hierarchy of authority and accountability in an organization. These formal working and reporting relationships are often detailed in the organizational charts.

Depending on the involvement of an employee in the organization, he/ she can often be classified as either the line employees or the staff employees. Specifically, employees that directly involved in producing or marketing the firm’s products or services are categorized as the line employees. In contrast, those employees that support the line employees are categorized as the staff employees.

Usually, an organization employs a mixture of organizational structures for attainment of the organizational mission and vision. There are various perspectives in which line and staff employees can be organized. These perspectives are: (a) functional, (b) product, (c) customer, (d) geographic, (e) divisional, (f) matrix, and (g) amorphous.

The choice of structure chosen by an organization is critical, as different structure will affect the operations of a company differently. It is widely acknowledged that it is best to have a fit between the business activities as well as the corporate resources available to produce or deliver value to marketplace. Specifically, the structure for an organization should be formed in consistent to the organization’s goals and strategy. An effective structure should be able to enable individuals to interact, work and complete the task assigned in the process of realization of the company missions.

It is also important to acknowledge that as the reporting and working relationships in workplace can be formal or informal, the organization structure can be explicit or implicit in nature as well. Both formal and informal relationships are important in executing a successful action plan.

Not only that, another widely discussed issue about organizational structure recently is about the subject of span of control. In the new knowledge economy, management gurus are advocating that organizational should be more responsive to the marketplace and having a lean structure can improve company performance, while at the similar time reduce wastage. Thus, managers are given a larger span of control, while those middle-managers are being dismissed. Such a structure is often perceived as the adaptive, lean, effective and the optimized organizational structure.

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