Sample Paper on Organization Structure on Organization Behaviour

Effects of Organization Structure on Organization Behaviour

Organizations usually operate different and dynamic activities which, if not organized suitably, can interfere with the smooth running of the organization’s operations. Therefore, there is need to organize these activities into productive structures. Organizational structure is the classification of people in an organization into different groups based on their skills and levels. Organizational structures establish how managers and workers relate in the organization’s work. They also establish the chain of command and how work is delegated by managers to their subordinates. The type of a structure that an organization has decided to use will greatly influence the behaviour of the organization’s workers (Clegg, 42). Therefore, the decision on which structure to use depends on whether it will affect the worker’s behaviour positively or not.

There are different types of organizational structures depending on the approach taken. The contingency approach is based on the fact that an organization’s structure should be flexible enough towards changes that may occur in the operations. This is because changes in an organization cannot be avoided, since operations are usually influenced by a number of variables that keep changing with time. Based on this approach, an organization’s structure will depend on the following:

  • Technology
  • How fast the organization is expanding
  • Culture of the organization
  • How diverse the tasks in the organization are

According to this approach, an organization’s structure can either be organic or mechanistic.

Organic structure

Under this structure, flexibility and adjustments of tasks are emphasised, and communication between the workers themselves and between workers and supervisors is not restricted. That is, communication is vertical, diagonal, and also horizontal; examples of this structure are the team-based structure and boundary-less structure.

The team-based structure is where employees from different departments, with different skills, come together in a team in order to solve a certain problem or serve in certain organizational tasks. After solving the problem, the team is dissolved and the team members return to their various departments. Teamwork affects the organizational behaviour by enhancing creativity and enthusiasm (Clegg, 101). This is because there is less authority, and every member of the team is given a chance to give personal opinion. With team work, each member of the team feels equally important, and therefore does work with a lot enthusiasm, motivation, and dedication. Also, the different ideas and abilities from different backgrounds ensure that the result obtained through team work is the best result that is available. However, team work leads to a decline in specialization, which in turn leads to decreases in efficiency.

A boundary-less structure is another form of organic structure. It is where all the boundaries between departments are removed (Ashekans, 91). The boundaries between the organization and its suppliers and customers are also removed. This is done to ensure flexibility between the different components of an organization. It ensures that different departments are integrated, and that a closer relationship between the organization and its suppliers and customers is maintained.

Mechanistic structure

This kind of organization structure is characterised by specialization, standardization of work, and a strict chain of command; it is more rigid compared to the organic structure. It is mostly used where the business environment is stable. Because of the lack of flexibility in this organization structure, an organization that uses the model will not be able to enhance creativity of individual employees because the decision making is centralised.

Apart from the two structures mentioned above, most organizational structures today are grouped as functional, divisional, hybrid, and matrix structures. Most organizations either use functional or divisional models. However, some organizations also use the matrix and hybrid structures.

The divisional structure is widely used where the organization has a large production line, lots of customers, and a number of geographic locations for offices. To ensure easy management and coordination of work, product, customer and geographic divisions are created. Under the product division, a single unit of the organization is responsible for the production of a single product or a group of products that are related. This is usually necessary where each of the products of the organization require a different marketing strategy. Therefore, each product division has its own human resources, finance, research and development, and marketing departments.

In a case where an organization has different groups of customers, the customer division structure will be applied. This is because the customers’ wants are not similar, and therefore, to satisfy each customer completely, there is need to divide the customers according to the products that they consume. This product division ensures that there exists a closer relationship between the customer and the division.

Lastly, under the divisional structure, there is geographic division. Geographic division is mostly applied by organizations that supply their products to a large geographical location; this can be regionally or internationally. This structure is mostly used by multinational companies because of the need to establish facilities closer to the customers. It could also be because customers from different regions have different tastes and preferences.

Divisional structures influence the organizational behaviour in a number of ways. One of the ways concerns and involves training methods, approaches, and models. Heads of division are given control over particular divisions, and as a result, they learn to be leaders as they guide and coordinate the activities of their division’s staff and operations. This is also because the employees are trained to be good at what they do by performing particular tasks repeatedly. Divisional structures can also influence the organizational behaviour by enhancing creativity. This is because under this structure, the organization is very flexible, as the decision to adopt a new way of production does not affect the entire organization. This makes the process of adopting to change a less hectic process. Therefore, employees are encouraged to come up with different new ideas because they know that they won’t face much opposition. Each division has its own objectives, and therefore, employees are motivated because they feel part of the process and objectives.

The divisional structure can also affect the organizational behaviour negatively. The head office may lose touch with the different divisions. This will make coordination of the organization very difficult and also influence a lack of team work in the organization as a whole. As a result of this lack of team work, the organizational objectives may not be fulfilled.

The functional structure is the most common and basic form used by most small to medium organizations to manage their employees. It involves grouping employees according to their skills. Under this structure, similar tasks are grouped together and individuals able to perform such tasks are assigned to the different task groups. For examples, the accountants in the organization are assigned to the finance departments and the sales persons are assigned to the marketing department.

This organization structure affects the organization structure in a number of ways. The most common one is that it enables effective training of the employees. This is because the employees are grouped according to their skills, and therefore, they repeatedly perform similar tasks and with time, they become experts in respective duties and roles. This training can also be through their peers in the same department. This is because individuals in a department are trained to do the same kind of tasks, but their skill levels are different. Therefore, a junior employee can learn from a senior’s experience, advancing his/her skills and knowledge. Also, new recruits can bring with them new ideas, from which the entire department can learn something new. Individuals also clearly understand their career paths, and are hence motivated to work harder because they know of the probabilities of promotion (Latham, 492).

Functional structures also affect the organization’s structure behaviour negatively in a number of ways. One of the ways is lack of innovativeness. This is because each department focuses in its own goals and forgets about the entire organization’s goals, and as result, there is less innovation among the organization’s employees. The lack of innovation is brought about by the fact that individuals do the same kind of work, and hence do not face different challenges which, when solved, can bring about creativity. Another negative influence of this structure is that it does not allow the organization to be flexible. This is because the authority is centralized and therefore the decision making process is very long and hectic. This means that with this kind of structure, the organization cannot adapt to changes in the environment. Lack of flexibility and inability to welcome change also inhibits creativity (Scott, 369). This organizational structure can also create conflicts and hostility among the members of the organization. This is because certain departments may feel forgotten and isolated and therefore may be hostile towards certain departments that they feel are given special treatment. This hostility may, in turn, lead to conflict among members of an organization. Lastly, this structure inhibits change because new ideas brought by one department may not be accepted by another department, especially if they feel that the idea will influence their department negatively. Such ideas may be for the overall good of the entire organization, but because one department feels that they won’t benefit, they can sabotage the whole idea, and hence the overall change needed in the organization will not take place.

 

Divisional structure verses Functional structure

These two structures are the most used organization structure. They are similar in a number of ways and at the same time they possess some differences. The similarities include:

  1. Both structures enable training of the organization’s staff. In the functional structure, the training is mainly for junior employees, whereas in divisional structure, the training is mainly for the management team.
  2. Both structures, when used by an organization, can lead to a lack of team work. In the case of divisional structure, this is brought about by lack of coordination of the various divisions. This lack of coordination is brought about by the fact that the head office loses touch and control of the divisions. For the functional structure, the lack of team work is brought about by the hostility and conflict between departments.

The differences between functional and divisional structures include:

  • Under the divisional structure, the decision making process is decentralised, and therefore, the organization is very flexible as the decision made by one division does not affect another division. The functional structure, on the other hand, does not allow for departments to make their own decisions. The decision making procedures are centralised, and therefore, the organization cannot easily adapt to changes in the environment. This means that when an organization uses divisional structure, there is room for creativity whereas when an organization uses the functional structure, there is no room for creativity (Scott, 372).
  • The functional structure ensures unity of direction as compared to a divisional structure, where the senior most management may lose control of the divisions. This loss of control by the top most management can bring about difficulties when making strategic plans.
  • When an organization chooses a functional structure, the resources are fully utilized whereas in the case of divisional structure, the organization’s resources are underutilized. This is because where the functional structure is used; there is no repetition of tasks as in the case of the divisional unit. Under a functional structure, certain tasks such as research are conducted once for the entire organization, whereas in the case of divisional structure, such tasks are conducted for every branch. Therefore, the use of a divisional structure leads to wastage of the organization resources.
  • Divisional structure, if used, ensures high customer satisfaction whereas under functional structure the customers’ satisfaction is not so high. This is because under divisional structures, there is lots of specialization and special attention is given to customers because they are closer to the facilities; and hence, their needs are better satisfied. Functional structure, on the other hand, does not offer high customer satisfaction because there is no close relationship between the customers and the organization as in the case of a divisional structure. Therefore, the customers’ needs are not properly addressed under functional structure.

Apart from the functional and divisional structures, there are other forms of organization structures as earlier mentioned, above. The other two structures are hybrid structure and matrix structure.

The hybrid structure combines both characteristics of divisional and functional structures. It is where an organization organizes its workers according to skills, and those with similar skills are assigned to a department where they perform similar tasks. At the same time, the organization has different divisions or branches. The functional departments are located at the head office and serve all the branches. That is unlike divisional structures, where each division has its department, and in this case, all the branches are served by common functional departments.

The main influence of this organization structure on the organization’s behaviour is that there is proper coordination of work by the top management since all the branches’ activities are coordinated from the head office. This is because the functional units are centralised (Brooke, 127). This proper coordination of branches brings about team work. A team is made up of different individuals with different abilities and skills. Therefore, with team work, individuals are able to brainstorm and come up with different ideas to handle a problem. When these ideas are put together in a pool and analysed by the team members and modified where necessary, the result is usually an optimum solution. Therefore, team work ensures maximum identification of solutions to problems by the organization’s members. Since the branches are now controlled by the functional units from the head office, there is a lack of flexibility of the individual branches. This is because the decision making mechanism is central, and therefore, any emergent issue at the branches cannot be addressed promptly. Centralised decision making inhibits change, and a lack of change hinders creativity (Clegg, 72).

A matrix is another form of organization structure used by different organizations. This organization structure is a unique configuration as it involves two managers in each department. It is characterised by employees having two bosses in a department; that is, the employees’ work is supervised by two managers. One of the managers is the project manager and the other manager is the functional manager. This structure is commonly used where an entirely new product is being introduced in the organization, and the two managers, oversee the process and ensure its smooth operation. For example, an employee in the finance department will be supervised by the finance manager who is the functional manager and another manager who is the functional manager.

The matrix structure influences the organization’s behaviour in a number of ways. Matrix structure improves the organizational behaviour by encouraging training. This is because the employees are exposed to a wider operation of the company, and as a result of this exposure, their skills are improved. This organization structure can also destroy the organization’s behaviour by creating conflict within the organization. The conflict is mainly between the two managers, that is, the functional and the project managers. The main cause of this conflict is the fact that they share authority; this is because either one of them takes orders from the other, and therefore, whenever one exercises authority in a manner that may subordinate the other manager, then a disagreement is likely to arise, and hence a conflict between the managers. The presence of two managers also leads to confusion (Furnham, 87); the employees are confused because they do not know which of the two managers to report to. They also are confused from who to take orders. There are even occasions when the employees are given an order by one of the managers and the other manager comes and gives another order that contradicts the previous order given. As a result, the employees are left confused, not knowing which order to obey and which one to discard. This type of confusion is tiring on the employee’s part and also demoralises the employees. As a result of this demoralisation, employees become demotivated to work, and as a result, the motivation, diligence, and quality of performances deteriorate; the employees do not work as hard as how they would have worked if they only had one boss. The functional manager may also feel that his subordinate is spending more time doing the project work than they are spending doing their functional duties. This can lead to disagreements between the functional managers and their subordinates.

In conclusion, classifying individuals together in a certain way or groups can prevent or initiate certain behaviours in people. Therefore any organization that wishes to accomplish its goals and increase performance must consider how a certain model of classification of staff is going to influence their behaviour before settling on which organization structure to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

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