Designs of Organizations
Do you know what was the result of project which was nothing but a collaboration of millions of employees striving towards different parts of the project for as complete three years long? The company is none other than Microsoft and the product is nothing but the Windows 7. This is quite opposite to the method in which the vistas were developed in a rigid manner. As a result, Windows 7 has been quite the success we know it to be whereas Vistas is not. This is completely due to the method of approach in building Vistas. Vistas was developed by a development team that was very rigid in their style of working and were only responsible for their own technical features. These different groups worked independently and none of them discussed their plans with each other.
Thus the problem which occurred with Vista was that these codes worked absolutely fine when ran independently but due to the lack of proper group work and sharing, they started malfunctioning when the work from the different groups were combined and integrated into a single program. These were the major design issues and technical problem which were faced during designing Vistas and it in turn resulted in delays in the product and also led to a lot of delays. The CEO of the company, Steve, was confident of the fact that he would not repeat the same mistakes once again and had thus decided to repeat his mistakes and rebuild the organizational structure of the company in a manner which would lead to better and more efficient form of work.
Just like Mr. Steve Ballmer, there are many other managers who feel that these traditional form of designs which were already discussed are not exactly appreciated by this current environment which is much more complex and dynamic. Instead of following these traditional forms, the present organizations require innovative, creative, lean flexible so as to get accepted and also the work they do have to be organized. This is exactly why the managers of these organizations are finding new and creative ways so as to organize and structure their work. Some of the contemporary designs actually consist of project and matrix structures, team structures, learning organizations and also boundary less organizations.
The co- founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have proudly created a structure designed to tackle most of the big and complex projects in the form of teams which are small and absolutely focussed. Do you know what is a team structure? Well, it is basically a complete organization which consists of team of work people who are responsible for the purpose of doing work of the organization. In this particular structure, the empowerment of the employee is particularly important and crucial as you need to remember that there is nomanagement authority which actually works in a linear fashion from the top to the bottom. Instead you will find that these team of employees actually do their work in manner they feel is perfect for their team. They are not ruled or ordered around by other top authorities. However, since these teams are given the freedom to work in an independent manner without being answerable to any other higher authorities, they are held responsible and answerable if the job they are responsible is not done in a correct manner and does not yield the proper results or any degradation in the performance of the area they are responsible for.
In several large organizations you will find that these team structures are designed in a manner so as to complement the divisional and the functional structure and also lets the organization have the flexibility that is provided by the teams themselves and also gets them the efficiency that a bureaucracy demands. Some of the popular large scale companies namely Hewlett-Packard, Amazon, Motorola, Boeing, Louis Vuitton and Xerox make use of these team structures building employee teams who helps improve the rate of production.
Structures of project and matrix
Another highly popular and contemporary organizational design is the matrix and project structures. The matrix structure is responsible for the purpose of assigning specialists belonging to the different sectors which are operational to be a part of a singular project which is headed by the manager of a project. You will find that one of the aspect which differentiates the matrix structure from the other contemporary structure is the creation of the command chain which is dual. This means that every employer under the matrix structure has to report to two separate managers, the project or the product manager as well as the functional area manager who have authority over the employees. The project head has the power over the employees who form a part of the project team and are responsible for the functional tasks in those areas which are similar to the job or the goal of the project. The functional manager on the other hand is responsible for the recommendations of the salary, the area dealing with promotions as well as annual review on the employees and how they have done their jobs. This matrix design disobeys the principle based on command on unity which states that every employee should only have a single boss or authority they are directly answerable to. Irrespective of violation of this principle, you will find that this particular design structure has been working quite effectively. All that is required is a proper communication between the two managers the employees are answerable to. As long as the managers coordinate their between themselves and communicate and discuss amongst themselves all the decisions, they can solve any conflicts which might occur.
The project structure on the other hand is also used by several companies and organizations where the employees are required to consistently do the projects. Not like the structure of matrix, this particular structure does not comprise of any kind of department where the employee is required to answer to their boss. Here the employees work on the projects and then they take their experience, their abilities and their particular skills to work on the other projects. You will also find that the team of employees are responsible for all those tasks and work that are required in the project structure. For example, there is the firm IDEO where you will the members following the project structure. They disband, form and reform teams as and when the project requires. The employees form a part of the team only since they have brought a certain specific skill and ability to the work. Once the project has reached its completion, you will find that they have moved on to another project where they will work in a similar manner.
Thus these project structures are much more flexible where organizational designs are concerned without having any organizational rigid hierarchy or having any kind of departmentalisation. These structures actually are responsible for the slowing down of the process of making or taking decisions. In this particular structure, you will find that the managers act as mere mentors, coaches or facilitators instead of their authorities of boss. They are responsible for making sure that the employees are doing their job in the right process and to provide them the correct guidance so they can complete their jobs in the right time. The managers here are there to eliminate the obstacles provided by an organization and also make sure that their team is getting all the resources which is required by them for the purpose of effectively completing their jobs in an efficient manner.
Now comes in the next organizational structure: the organization which is known as boundaryless. Have you heard of the particle accelerator worth 6 billion dollars, Hadron Collider, which lies inside tunnel which is 574 feet under the ground and has a circumference of 17 miles situated near Geneva in Switzerland. This atom collider is so huge and massive that short reporting of it takes about 2900 authors and it is so complicated that several scientists spanning about 34 countries are required to ready about 100,0000 personal computers so that they can process the data, not just big, the atom smasher is also quite delicate such that a mere bird dropping can fuse off the entire power supply. But if the potential of the collider can be exploited properly, a wide frontier of knowledge will be expanded and it requires the scientists to expand their technical speciality, organization and boundaries.
Another instance of the contemporary organizational design is the boundaryless organization which has been used to structurally manage the working of the massive Hadron Collider in an efficient manner. The organization which is boundaryless is designed and defined without any form of limitation to the external, horizontal and vertical boundary in the form of any predefined structure. Jack Welch, the ex -Chairman of GE has invented the word as he wished to remove the horizontal and vertical boundaries within the GE itself and also break or destroy any kind of boundaries or external kind of barriers in between the customers or the suppliers and the company. Although it might seem to be odd, it has been found that most of the large scale organizations are better at operating when there is no rigid boundaries and barriers. They are able to work better in an environment which does not already have a predefined structure and is bounded and rigid. Their idea of an idea structure is one which is unbounded and flexible.
You might wonder what is meant by boundaries? Boundaries are of precisely two types. The external boundary refers to all those boundaries which separate the entire organization from the stakeholders, customers and suppliers. The internal boundary on the other hand has the horizontal and the vertical barrier. The horizontal barrier is forced upon by the work departmentalization and specialization. The ones which are vertical on the other hand form a separation between the employees into hierarchies and organizational levels.
Have you ever thought of doing an internship or have you ever done one? How about you think of getting for yourself an internship that does not require you to travel all the way to the office, sit in a cubicle and do your work? How about an internship where you can complete your job right from your house with the help of your computer? Well, these kind of internships are known as virtual internships. These type of internships are gaining quite the popularity with every passing time especially among the medium and small companies as well the online business portals. Most of the work done by these virtual interns include social-media development, marketing, sales and researching work that you can do from anywhere as long as you have a personal computer and a working internet connection. Most of the organizations are nowadays structured in such a manner that it suitable to accommodate the virtual employees.
You might wonder what an organization which is virtual actually comprises of? Well, it basically comprises of a few employees who are full time workers of the organization as well as some of the specialists who are hired temporarily from outside for the purpose of working on some projects. One such example of an organization is the StrawberryFrog which is an advertising agency having offices at New York, Amsterdam,Mumbai and Sao Paulo. This agency consists of a few full time workers which is relatively a small number and it consists of a full global connection of temporary free -lance employees hired based on the requirement of the client’s projects. The organization enjoys quite the global network consisting talent it has created for itself without having to deal with all the complexities and overhead associated with having a large staff.
Let’s take an example, ARM is the British strategy company and a microchip designer has a lot of partners. This company has partnership with some of the manufacturing and sales companies. Since ARM is not a manufacturing company itself, it partners with other manufacturing companies and thus the customers get to request their own choice. This kind of flexibility is highly valuable to the company as it provides its customers with custom made chips as well as software for their cell phones. The other company Boeing also manages about thousands of employees as well as has about 100 suppliers spread over more than 100 sites over several countries. The Ericsson company based in Sweden also has contracts with manufacturing companies and gives over some of its development and research to contractors which gives them a lot of money. These contractors are based in Singapore, California, New Delhi and other locations.
Next comes in the network organization. Smart Balance Incorporation. is a food marketer which helps people to stay slim, trim and healthy through its products which is quite heart friendly. You will also find that the organizational structure of the company is quite lean and trim. The organization has a total of 67 employees only and the rest the company gets sources from outside production from other organizational functions such as the sales, the distribution of product and manufacturing. This kind of structural approach which is adopted by the Smart Balance eliminates boundaries of organization and is described as organization of network. This kind of an organizational structure has its own set of employees who do some of the activities, work and there is a network of external suppliers who provide the work process and other components to the company. This particular organizational design is also at times referred as an organization which is modular by the manufacturing firms. Thus the main aim of these organization is to do those jobs they are meant to do and are good at while hiring other organizations to undertake those jobs they are the best at respectively.
Next in comes the learning organization. The British retailer Tesco has been doing his business in the environment which is competitive and global. His experience has taught him the importance of stores running fine even off the screen. The way to make sure that business is running well both in the front scene as well as behind the scene is through a tool called the Tesco present on the inside of a Box which has already been proven. This particular Tesco in a box is an IT system which is complete and has a set of matching processes of business thus providing the tool for the international operations of Tesco. Thus this particular approach not only promotion of consistency through its operations but is also an excellent way of sharing and promote innovations.
Thus this Tesco is quite the example of learning organization which was developed with a capacity of learning continuously, change and adapt to that change. You will find that when it is an academic or learning organization, employers and employees continuously go through the process of learning and spreading knowledge. They not only gain new knowledge but also find ways to make use of these knowledge to make wise decisions that will help them in the process of learning and gaining education. Thus the process of learning and the capability of applying that learning is a source of an advantage which is competitive and sustainable. Now, you might wonder as to what are the type of structural characteristics which needs to be possessed by learning organization?
The method is quite easy and only requires group effort and collaboration. All the employees belonging to that organization spread across all the functional specialities and the different levels of the organization should collaborate amongst themselves and share their own piece of information and work activities. If these kind of environment is promoted, it will reduce all the physical barrier and will also require a structure which is minimal.
The employees of the entire organization will be able to work in the best possible way and also learn a lot through the procedure not just on their own but also from others. This will be highly beneficial as one of the important feature about every organizational design is their empowered work team. These teams are responsible for making those decisions regarding solving issues and do those jibs which need to be completed. If the team and the employees are empowered, there will no more be any need for heads to control and direct the teams. Instead the managers will be able to work as mentors, guides, supporters and facilitators guiding them towards the job.
Links of Previous Main Topic:-
- What is social responsibility
- Managing change and innovation
- Managers as decision makers
- Foundations of planning
- Strategic management
- Basic organizational design
- Adaptive organizational design
Links of Next Fundamentals of Management Topics:-
- Organizing for collaboration
- Flexible work arrangements
- Contingent force of work
- Todays organizational design challenges
- Adaptive organizational design
- Case application 1 drivers seat
- Case application 2 the virus hunters
- Chapter eleven summary by learning outcomes
- Preparing for my career adaptive organizational design
- Managing human resources
- Managing teams
- Understanding individual behavior
- Managers and communication