Organisational structure, effectiveness

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Robert Mandeya

ORGANISATIONAL structure determines the work allocation and grouping of activities according to the need and goals.

All the activities need to be delegated by the managers to achieve efficiency and professionalism in the task. Organisational functions and activities need to be organised and coordinated. They should be designed properly to manage the effective division of work, grouping of activities, coordinating and controlling the work of the organisation. It needs departmentation which leads to efficient functioning of managers and the organisation. It also gives specialised output, administrative control and fixation of responsibilities, freedom and development of managers.

There are three types of structures of an organisation: namely functional, divisional and adaptive according to which an organisation can be created. Besides this, organisational structure has three dimensions: formalisation, centralisation and complexity to attain organisational effectiveness. Other factors which influence effectiveness are managerial policies and practices, environmental characterisation, employee characteristics and organisational characteristics.

Divisional clarity

The designing is done for division of tasks, grouping of activities and coordinating and controlling the tasks of organisation.

Organisational structure is an established pattern of relationships among components of the organisation. It refers to the network of relationships among individuals and positions in an organisation. The structure of the organisation takes the shape of pyramid and implies some important facts.

It contributes to the smooth functioning of the organisation in many ways. The significance of organisational structure is attributed to factors like clear-cut authority, relationships, pattern of communication, location of decision centres, proper balancing, stimulating creativity, encouraging growth and making use of technological improvements.

Structure determines allocation of tasks

Organisational structure determines the allocation of tasks, influences division of tasks and helps in the grouping of activities. It also influences coordinating the activities and the overall task accomplishments in an organisation. Managers are required to take four important decisions for designing organisational structure.

The first step involves division of overall tasks into smaller jobs. The second step involves distribution of authority among the jobs. The third step stresses the basis upon which individual jobs are to be grouped together. The fourth step refers to the appropriate size of group reporting to each superior.

Importance of division of labour

Division of labour results in work specialisation and delivers benefit to the organisation. It enhances work efficiency and so that employees’ skills can be used in the best possible ways. It helps in attaining perfection on the job. It enhances productivity and lowers training costs. Its demerits are that it cannot be used for all types of jobs, leads to monotony and boredom, and underestimates behavioural aspects of workers.

Delegation is a process followed by a manager in which he divides the work assigned to him. It is done so that he can perform his part efficiently in the interest of the organisation. It is legitimate authorisation to a manager or employee to act in specified ways.

Delegation has its benefits as it leads to professionalism, enhances creativeness and innovativeness through managerial decisions, creates a competitive environment, and encourages quick-witted decisions. It has its limitations as managers may resist delegating authority and may require training for taking decisions. It may also result in an increase in administrative costs.

Departmentation and supervision

Departmentation is the process done for efficient functioning. It includes forming departments or grouping activities of an organisation into a number of separate units. Its major benefits include specialisation, administrative control, and fixation of responsibility, freedom or autonomy, development of managers.

Span of control means the number of individuals that can be efficiently supervised by the manager. It has some important factors like nature of the work, ability of the managers, efficiency of the cognition, self assistants, time available for supervision, ability of the subordinates and degree of decentralisation.

Centralisation and decision making

Centralisation is the extent to which decision-making is centralised in the organisation. It is useful in small organisations. On the contrary, decentralisation is just the opposite as it means transference of authority from higher levels to lower levels.

Complexity relates to the difference among jobs and units. It reflects the extent of differentiation that exists within the organisation.
In organisations, there can be horizontal, vertical and spatial differentiation—based on the complexity of activities.

Organisational design is the process of coordinating structural elements of organisations in an appropriate manner. Organisational effectiveness is the measure of effectiveness by which any organisational functions are also dependent on the structure of the organisation.

There are many factors influencing organiaational effectiveness and they are managerial policies and practices, environmental characteristics, employee characteristics and organisational characteristics.

Mandeya is an executive leadership coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Institute of Leadership, Research and Development (LiRD). — robert@lird.co.zw/www.lird.co.zw.

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