Bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisations
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisation has a tall and thin organisational chart. Beside that, this kind of organisation is usually a centralized organisation which means that all the decisions are made by managers, and non-manager employees do not have the right to make decisions. To make the organisation run efficiency, bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisation will make their job classified by functional departmentalization. According to Howard Distelzweig and Scott B. Droege, ‘The jobs in the traditional organizational structure are usually grouped by functions into departments such as accounting, sales, human resources and so on.’
It means that organization can classify employees who have similar skills and knowledge to form a department and lead by a manager of department. For example, the marketing will handle all the sales and promote products and services. With functional departmentalization, employees will know clearly about their job and also who are the people they should report to. The managers of each department must have good communication skills because the accuracy flows of information are very important in centralization organization.
The chart below illustrates an example for organisation chart of bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisation.
, (a), (i)
Hierarchical structure is one of the first structures has been used in organizations. This kind of structure was mostly common in the traditional companies. One of the reasons that this structure was common among the traditional organizations was that this kind of structure is easier to form in comparison to other structures such as organic structure. On the other hand, in hierarchical structure everyone knows that where is their exact position in the structure and who is above or below them. Moreover, other benefit of classifying staffs is that it is much easier for the managers to promote their employees to higher levels.
The other thing is that in traditional organizations the managers wanted to have the full control of the company and since in hierarchical structure decision making is done by top level managers so they have good control on the company’s processes.
The other reason that traditional organizations had selected this structure is that with using this structure they could cut down the prices because in hierarchical structure there is no need to have a controlling department and as the jobs are completely defined, the process of controlling can be done by each part itself.
In past few years the hierarchical structures were popular because they provided a good command to have control on the organization but by upgrading technology, increasing the pace of innovation and apparition of hard competition between companies, the companies have decided to decrease the height of their organization pyramid because with those new technologies by computers could do many tasks instead of humans. In addition, in the hierarchical structure data are stored at higher levels of organization and it takes long time that the information reaches to the lower levels which reduces the speed of research and developing of the company, thus the company was not able to survive in a highly competitive environment with this structure, and had to change its structure. Another issue is that current environment is usually not so stable so that the company must adopt to it fast which is not possible with a structure with strict defined rules. As mentioned in the book Organizational Behavior, “hierarchically structured organizations were not very good at anticipating environmental changes or at sharing information across functions such as production, marketing and engineering”.
The other problem with this structure is called “Vertical conflict”. These conflicts usually happen between managers or groups which are in the same level and it is mostly because that their goals are different.
Question 3, (a), (ii)
Bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisation are usually facing internal communication problem. This problem occurs is because these kinds of organisation mostly are centralization organisation and non-manager employee must wait the decision or the information from the top level manger pass to each level manger and finally pass to them. If any problem occurs, non-manager employees have to report to first-line manager and first line manager have to pass the message to higher level manager to make decision. It is long process of communication and there is no guaranty there won’t have any error messages had been delivery in the process of communication.
To overcome this kind of problem, organisation must delegate authority to each level manager properly. In an organization, there are many type of decision had to make. In order to make the process of decision making become faster, some of the decision making authority must be delegate to each manager according to the position but not all the decision making power hold by higher level manager. A good internal communication system is also important in improving the speed and accuracy of information flow. Therefore, organization should select the proper communication system and. In tradition way, organisation can use memo, formal letter, notice, telephone call, fax and others. But in 21st century, Internet technology had provided many faster and easier communication tools to organisation. One of the communication tools is e-mail (Robbins, P. Stephen & Coulter Mary, 2002). With e-mail, employee or manager can easily send the information to all employees rather than just communicate with them by waste time by group them together. The most important is the e-mail was a free communication tool. Besides, organization may using video conferencing as a communication tool (John Lynch, 1996). In centralization organization, all important decisions are made by top manager. So video conferencing can be use by managers at different places to make a group discussion or meeting rather than waste time by group all the manger from different place to have a face to face meeting. This can help organisation make a faster decision and the information that be pass will be clearly.
Furthermore, intranet and extranet may be a good communication system for organisation. If organisation wish to have a higher security and a proper communication system, they can develop their own private network that is intranet and extranet. Intranet can allow employee access the information within the building of organisation and extranet can allow employee access the information anywhere and anytime. Besides, intranet and extranet can help to reduce the risk of information to be share or stole by outsider (Rim Mosbeh & Khalid S. Soliman, 2008).
Question 3, (b)
The term organic associates something alive which can adapt itself to changes happening around it. Organic structure in organizations show same feature. It can adapt to changes around it faster than other structures. In this structure the tasks and roles are continuously being readjusted and redefined, the communication happens horizontally rather than vertically and knowledge can be stored where it is most useful in the structure, which provides less centralization. In this structure jobs are organized between teams instead of individuals. Employees would be trained to be able to handle different kinds of challenges. In this kind of structure all of the employees can suggest new ideas and they are involved in decision makings and deciding is not done only by one person. The most important characteristics in this type are:
Wide span of control
Easier to change
Team based structure can be considered as an organic structures as in this organization the organization is made up of different teams and the whole job is distributed among the teams. But the team members are the people who decide what the best way is to do the job assigned to their team instead of just following the manager’s orders. However, the employees are responsible for their decisions thus they should choose the best way of doing their work. In this structure span of control is very flat and there is little formalization also.
Network-based structure is described in the book Organization and Environment as “… adapted to unstable conditions, when problems and requirements for action arise which cannot be broken down and distributed among specialists’ roles within a hierarchy. … Jobs lose much of their formal definition … Interaction runs laterally as much as vertically. Communication between people of different ranks tends to resemble lateral consultation rather than vertical command …” (Lawrence, P.R. & J.w. Lorsch, 1967) which means this structure is very flexible to changes and the roles are not strictly defined and can be changed due to tasks. All of these characteristics indicate an organic structure. That’s why we can consider network-based organizations as organic.
In the three structures mentioned above more people are involved in decision makings and anyone has the right to suggest new ideas. This culture causes more innovation because the probability of finding a gorgeous idea among many ideas is more than finding one in a few. Other advantage is in centralized organization if the person in center is too busy usually new ideas are denied without thinking but organic structures lead to less centralization. In organic organizations the jobs are assigned to groups and it increases the innovation because the employees can decide themselves.
However, these structures have some challenges. For instance these structures are very hard to design or in these structures the roles need to be redefined continuously. Moreover in these structures the power is not centralized anymore and this means the leading will be actually useless. It also can cause to collision between employees because their goals are different due to their groups.
Bureaucratic structure of a traditional organisation is the centralized organisation that totally control by top level manager. That means top level manager are the critical issues in organisation. If the top level manager are not qualify or weak in planning and managing, that will directly affect the whole organisation. The most serious consequence are the organisation may making loses or close down. Since the top level manager are holding the extremely power to make any decision, the top level manager might making the decision without listen the idea from others. This may causes the resources of organisation couldn’t be utilized and create a dissatisfaction of other employee because they don’t have any opportunity to show their skills and express their opinion.
Communication and information flow could be one of the issues that facing by traditional organisation. To solve this issues, organisation should divided the decision making authority to other manager and apply internet technology to make communication process and information flow become faster and more accurate. Besides, the communication skill of middle level manager also important in communication process because middle level are responsible to deliver the message from top level manager to first-line manager or employee.
Compare to traditional organisation, organic structured-organisation includes more employee interaction and any one can suggest his/her idea. This feature increases the innovation extremely. Also this structure makes it easier for employees to gain information suggest ideas based on them. Organic organization is highly beneficial for today organizations since they are facing rapid changes in their surrounding environment. On the other hand it’s harder to manage since it must be flexible and sometimes can even cause to argument because of differences in different parts’ goals.
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