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Flashcards in Organisational Structure and Design Deck (47)
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How is organisational structure studied?

Exploring structure in terms of work specialisation, span of control, departmentalisation, decentralisation and formalisation


What are the types of organisational design?

- Bureaucratic approach (Max Weber): meaning, advantages alongside disadvantages and persistence
- Alternative approaches


What is organisational structure?

- Form system of task and reporting relationships that control, coordinate and motivate employees to work together to achieve organisational goals (H and B)
- Formal and explicit indication to members of what is expected of them (Lorsch, 1977)


How is organisational structure visualised?

In organisational charts


Why study organisational structure?

- All businesses have to organise what they do
- A clear structure makes it easier to see which part of the business does what
- Helps understand human behaviour


What is span of control?

The number of subordinates a manager can efficiently and effectively direct


What is work specialisation?

The degree to which tasks in the organisation are subdivided into separate jobs


How does Taylorism/Fordism relate to work specialisation?

Makes efficient use of employee skills. Increases employee skills through repetition


What is departmentalisation?

The basis by which jobs are groups together, grouping activities by function, division (product/service), division (geography), matrix


What is a functional structure?

Organises employees around skills or other resources e.g HR, marketing, manufacturing


What is a divisional structure (product/service)?

Organises employees around products or business segments


What is a divisional structure (region)?

Regional structure groups employees together based on specific geographic location. This is often used by large companies


What is a matrix structure?

It has a two way flow of authority and responsibility.

Vertically - from superior to subordinate (creates stability and certainty for people working in the same unit)

Horizontally - from each employee to project manager who oversees the successful completion of the project


What are examples of matrix structures?

ENGIE - French global energy company, divided by region

BT Group - divided by consumer, business and public sector

General Electrics, IBM and P and G have successful matrix structures


How can there be conflicts within matrix structures?

Conflicts among product, geographic and functional divisions: people do not recognise a boss


How can there be power struggles within matrix structures?

Power struggles due to dual command - needs to be a balance of power and mechanisms for checking for imbalances


How can there be confusion with the decision making process in matrix structures?

Confusion with group decision making process - it isn't the same as group decision making - decisions might have to be run by several members of the team but not all and others may feel their time is wasted listening to the process


Why does a matrix structure collapse during economic slow down?

Matrix collapse during economic slowdown - too complex


How can excessive overhead be a problem of a matrix structure?

High costs associated with matrix structures. This is because overhead costs rise due to duality of command.


Why can there be uncontrolled layering within a matrix structure?

- Matrices lie within matrices which lie within matrices resulting from the power dynamics rather than the logic of design
- They cascade down the org and filter through several levels and across several decisions, without a logic and rationale behind it


What is naval glazing as a problem of matrix structures?

Managers in a matrix can succumb to excessive internal preoccupation and lose touch with the marketplace

Getting absorbed in internal relations at the expense of paying attention to the clients

More energy spent ironing out disputes


What is decision strangulation as a problem of matrix structures?

Too much democracy, not enough action. Endless delays for debate, for clearing with everyone. Decisions made too late to be of use.


How is effective resource coordination a positive aspect of a matrix organisation?

Functional supervisors focus on hiring, training and managing employees in their field, while project supervisors can focus on achieving the goals of their specific projects or products


How is breadth of skill a positive aspect of a matrix organisation?

When isolated in a functional area, employees may have more difficulty benefiting from the skills and experiences of those in other areas.

In a matrix structure, employees have constant contact with members of other functional areas via their project teams. This helps them to develop a wider skill set


How is communication a positive aspect of a matrix organisation?

Since employees have constant contact with members of different functional areas, the matrix structure allows for information and resources to travel more fluidly between those functional areas, allows for the better handling of complex challenges


How is there more flexibility in a matrix organisation than un other organisational structures?

The matrix structure allows for HR to be shared across different projects or products. Functional areas maintain a stock of talented employees to meet project requirements.


How can managers prevent conflict among functional and product managers in a matrix structure?

- Should not rely too much on an informal or latent matrix to coordinate critical tasks
- Relationships between functional and product managers should be explicit so that people are in agreement about roles


How can managers avoid power struggles in a matrix structure?

- Ensure equal power dimensions and dynamics for decision making
- Have institutional point of view
- Replace weak managers with strong ones
- Monitor and manage to whom duelling manager reports to


How can managers avoid matrix structures being seen as a group decision making process?

- Education on what a matrix is and what it is not
- Top managers need to accompany their strategic choice to move toward a matrix with educational effort to clarify roles


How can managers avoid a matrix collapsing during an economic crisis?

- Employing general managerial excellence, independent of the matrix, long before the crunch arrives
- Good planning, can often forecast downturns in economic cycle