Organizational structure dates back to the beginning in the 1800’s and continued to modify into three distinct eras of evolution. One must understand the framework of elements that are the foundation of an organizational structure. There are six key elements to include: work specialization; departmentalization; chain of command; span of control; central/decentralization; and formalization. Each of these specific elements plays a role in making sense of the dynamic of what is called organizational structure.
There are many organizational structure designs in use by businesses today. The simple structure, the bureaucracy, and the matrix structure are ...view middle of the document...
The division commander generally has four brigade commanders, who are colonels, who in turn have four to six battalion commanders. These lieutenant colonels command battalions which are typically made up of four companies.
All levels of bureaucracy are characterized by several core tendencies. The U.S. Army, as an example, has policies and procedures for any contingency, has designated job placement by military occupational specialties, fairly narrow spans of control, and strict rules and regulations.
The last organizational structure is the matrix structure. The matrix structure is a newer type of organization. The matrix structure is used by many types of agencies and firms and is characterized by two forms of departmentalization: functional and product. A good example of a matrix organization is the firm of Kellog Brown & Root, commonly known throughout the Department of Defense as KBR.
KBR provides services for the DoD that are not necessarily filled by Soldiers, such as food service, maintenance, and cleaning. This arrangement, which some claim to take the jobs of Soldiers, actually frees up Soldiers for the primary task of war fighting. One particular concern in this type of organization, according to Anand and Daft (2007), is the worry that KBR, or any other military contractor, “is that such firms are ultimately accountable to shareholders rather than the U.S. military, and therefore incentives have to be put in place to ensure continued cooperation” (p. 335). After all, these companies provide services to the military in order to make money.
An organization’s structure has an impact on the employee as well. In all three types of structures employees can be affected both negatively and positively. A look at advantages and disadvantages of each type of structure reveals how employees might be affected.
In a simple structure the strength of the organization lies in its simplicity. These types of structures are flexible and quick to adapt to changing needs. Accountability and the chain of command are clear. Each employee should know who they report to and who reports to them. This normally makes for clear lines of communication which is a boon to everyone.
Another characterization, which can be both positive as well as negative, is that the owner/manager has the primary decision-making authority. This attribute should allow for consistent conflict resolution, employee advancement, and clear communication. This can become a hindrance if the company...