Lateral Structural Arrangements

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Lateral structural arrangements 

Introduction

How the reporting and information flows throughout an organization is determined by the structures that subscribe to the different organizations, because they play a significant role in this. Most organizations decision making accountabilities may be disseminated within the company and other organizations decision making is the duty of the corporate supervision. Instead of functioning as separate and distinct entities, organization departments labor together in accomplishing a common goal. This is done with organizations that largely constitute a lateral structural composition or arrangement. More and more often the nature of power dynamics and interface amongst personnel different from traditional organization structures are reformed due to the fact that structural arrangements provide an avenue for communiqué and coordination between widely differently aspects within organizations (Writing, 2013).

The process in which information flows or is distributed within organizations that widely use lateral relationships and the information is known as a valid source of information has definitely lead to to new types of organizations that are unlike the traditional organizational constructs. He went ahead and identified some of the lateral structural arrangements as professional organizations, project teams, clan or organic systems and matrix structures (Bombaci, 2010). In this research paper, I will talk over and assess several of different lateral structural arrangements. I will discuss lateral structural arrangements, the different lateral structural arrangements that organizations utilize, and organizational lateral structural arrangements managerial consequences.

Lateral structural arrangements

The way in which the organization distributes its labor force into separate roles, task and functions and accomplishes effective synchronization between these different functions and roles is basically the structure of an organization (Hernaus, 2008). The organizational structures where divisions or workers in the company coordinate tasks at the division level rather that vertical is known as a lateral structure. These are largely founded on organizational lateral relationships that are often within equal hierarchical levels and assist in creating excellent working relations amongst organizational departments and personnel (Hernaus, 2008). The lateral relationships can be relationships between employee in the same organizational level within the company and working in working in different divisions. These relationships can also be between workers who work for one boss or in the same division (Bombaci, 2010).

The main driving force and theory behind the importance of lateral structures is that Lateral structures accomplish more than collaboration between divisions and workers during the organizations operational processes, they also assist the organization in reaching the its goal to produce excellent products, services and higher outcomes within the company through information sharing. Lastly lateral structures help an organization in increasing its workforce productivity which is the driving force and theory behind their significance. To accomplish a product or idea, teams and a number of divisions work self-sufficiently in these structures (Bombaci, 2010). It is vital, that if the organization is to expand and endure in this day and age of this economy as companies constantly face a continually changing environment that is extremely competitive, the need for efficient and effective organization operations and collaboration is definitely needed.

Structural difference

Organizational entities which are structurally dissimilar, such as different departments have a tendency to be differentiated in their time viewpoints with patterns of communication strengthening this segregation and information flow, interaction methods, and degree of formalization structure goals (Writing, 2013). According to (Writing, 2013) “though that such differences can be organized and coordination strengthened between organizations through effective lateral relationships that assist in communication and data flow which in the end, enhances work place efficiencies”.

Lateral relations

Lateral relations have definitely over the years, have more and more become significant within organizations structures and have been characterized by non-stop education, interdependence, and flexibility. According to (Writing, 2013) fewer structures are required for effective control of lateral relations, with an adequate amount of room left for a number of parties to position themselves and act in response to new conditions and situations as they come about. This leads to believe, that a lateral structural arrangement imbedded in an organization ought to be capable of effectively combining firmness and flexibility. Additionally, demands for information handling, which are levied by high levels of job uncertainty, are somewhat dealt with utilizing lateral structures. Organizations they are frequently to some degree limited in the way they process required information and exposed to various risks, due to the fact the organizations are open systems. Lateral relations effects nonhierarchical formal structures, which link essential undertakings in different organizational functional areas by altering the quantity of communication, style, and the quality. The frequency and amount within which dependable formal information is distributed through the organization is ultimately enhanced and increased by this and it also improves the overall organization functioning (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Different lateral structural arrangements in use within organizations

As stated before, a number of the lateral structural arrangements are organic or clan systems, project teams, professional organizations and matrix structures. Additionally, beside these lateral structural arrangements are task forces, meetings, coordinating roles, committees, network structures and self-managing teams (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000). An adhocracy structure is also a lateral structural arrangement and others include enthusiastic group efforts and integrated management teams, process based structures, and cross functional teams. These arrangements promote efficient organizational coordination and the flow of information (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Meetings

According to (Bombaci, 2010), meetings are formal or informal exchanges which aid in the lateral coordination of information sharing by way of the organization and are the foundation of successful horizontal coordination. They are the basis upon which boards share information agree to make organizational policies that enhance organizational efficiency or committees make strategic decisions regarding the organization based on information gathered. Formal meetings play a major role in organizations as they form the foundation upon which many important decisions are made and provide the largest share of horizontal synchronization in most organizations. Essential information and linked significant activities in different organization sections are shared when meeting are convened and people from different areas exchange this information while sitting together discussing organizational goals.

Informal meetings are definitely essential due to the fact they combine bits of information and bring together the bits in order for managers to make sense to ensure that a reasonable response time to fix or deal with issues in this day and age fast paced and competitive work environments. The effective flow of organizational information is accomplished by meetings, due to the fact they not only assemble resources together from different organizational areas, and lead the organization towards accomplishing a common organizational goal (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Committees

Lateral relations which are primarily put together to resolve issues which affect different organizational departments are formed by committees. These committees mostly consist of personnel of comparable organization rank level, but from different organizational sections getting together for the purpose of making modifications to previously existing issues or to find a resolution to a given problem (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000). Some committees models which may be established in an organization, include project committees that consist of supervising the execution of all projects begun inside the organization, or inspection and audit committees which analyzes the numerous organizational financial aspects of all divisions located within the organization (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Coordinating rules

The use of arbitration and persuading to aid a number of workers in organizations enhancing their hard work is a process utilized by coordinating roles and units, which are also forms of lateral structure arrangements. Also, coordinating roles or units are individuals or boundary spanner groups that are skilled at dealing across numerous distinctive sections and inside other organizational turfs (Bombaci, 2010). This of course consists of filling several organizational roles while having an understanding the workings of each role, then through the information collected, have the capability to improve unit efforts and guide each unit to accomplishing a mutual goal (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Task Forces

As with any organization new issues and opportunities arise consistently within the organization which require some coordination and collaboration of company diverse specialties and functions to solve these issues and task forces are lateral structural arrangements that come together to accomplish this task (Bombaci, 2010). This task force is usually assigned to take care of the task at hand, and is more than likely on a temporary basis. The task force will discuss and carefully analyze the specific given strategic issue and provide recommendations on the issue affecting the organization. To accomplish an effective deep dive analysis of a specific opportunity or issue, task force personnel are strategically taken from several areas of the organization (Writing, 2013).

Self-managing Teams

Self-managing teams are lateral structural arrangements in which a group of workers control their own activities and themselves, staff, and plan. This team sets goals on what completed or accomplished, and also make decisions and take action to remedy and rectify all issues that come about in their operations such as issues with quality or discipline and rewards. Due to the criticality of some issues, this requires the coordination of personnel from several organizational departments with different skills to ensure information flows between team members effectively and efficiently enhancing organizational efficiencies (Bombaci, 2010).

Network structures

Network structures are lateral structural arrangements that manage multifaceted, diverse relationships in several organization divisions which specialize in very specific business responsibilities. The network structures improve network development with and between organizations and often disintegrate various up and down strategies. Networking can enable well-organized and effective widely dispersed information flow. Network structure coordination possibly will take place through contracts informal relations or market mechanisms, they aren’t hierarchical and they are highly flexible and adaptable. With these structures, people build on one another’s strengths building and capabilities (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Adhocracy structure

An adhocracy structure is a lateral structural arrangement in which personnel contribute their knowhow to enabling the company in achieving their strategic objectives, which is essential because in this type of structure there is lateral communication, reduced formalization, and flexible definition of task. Structural designer’s regard these as liabilities because they are exploit benefits (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Cross functional teams

Cross functional teams for the most part are frequently convened for certain task completions and to resolve any arising organizational issues and to enhance different organizational lateral. These teams typically are made up of personnel with the needed skills, experience pulled from other divisions to complete the task at hand and be able to complete their product and job in an effective, timely, and professional manner (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Integrated management team

In every organization there are supervisors or managers the keep everyone on point as well getting the organizations tasks completed and on time. Integrated teams are an essential lateral structure arrangement and are successful when they are well integrated; this is because it aids in aligning organizational processes with the companies goals and keep operational awareness while staying focused on the vision and mission. This ultimately leads to the organizational management functions being combined into a synchronized unit which allows management the ability to operate as a single unit to accomplish objectives. This is a must in today’s constantly changing business environment. Integrated management teams aid an organization in achieving their goals from minimizing risks to observing the competition, supervising employees, and properly utilizing resources (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Process based structure

According to (Hernaus, 2008), process based structure is a lateral structural arrangement which entails diverse teams functioning from place to place in several core processes that include, sales generation to produce products, customer support, order fulfillment or services within a common unit. With chief operating officers supervising important support, there are few involved hierarchical processes over actions such as strategic planning, finance, and HR in this structure (Writing, 2013). Process based structures are designed to remove hierarchical and departmental limitations which obstruct the flow of information, slowing down the decision making process and task performance. With satisfying the customer at the forefront, process based structure aids organizations in focusing their resources in accomplishing this. This definitely assists in the satisfaction of consumers and also increases efficiency speed. Additionally in eliminating management layers, the process based structure improves information flow within the organization (Hernaus, 2008). There are on the other hand several disadvantages to the process based structure, which are, mindsets and expertise changes most often requires a lot of time and resources, and often faces push back from functional managers and staff experts. Also there is always difficulty in changing organizations, as this requires change management, and these processes can also lead to sluggish decision making, particularly if teams aren’t experienced. Additionally this can cause replication of technical experts, which are a limited resource (Hernaus, 2008).

Managerial Implications of Lateral structured arrangements in organizations

Sophisticated lateral organizations are definitely needed in organizations which conduct business in very diverse and uncertain environments (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).

Informal contacts and personal relationships

In pushing the organization on the road to attaining its goals, personal relationships and contacts that are informal typically come to be stronger than structures which are formal and reward systems. A lot bosses that operate in lateral structures learn how to manage difficult problems, and develop loyalties into strong shared organizational principles (Stanwick & Stanwick, 2009). These lateral structures remove specialization in a job and rather replace it with diversity that enhances synergistic effects where people build on each other's competencies and strength building a whole that exceeds the sum of its parts (Hernaus, 2008).

Decision making in lateral structures

In most cases, project ownership is frequently given to personnel that are capable and competent to successfully complete the project (Pinto, 2010). With this said, employees are often encouraged and empowered that are close to the lateral structures decision making process. This authority is not what position an employee occupies, but how capable they are and the knowledge they have. Lowering horizontal limitations or boundaries resolves problems, enhances leadership, processes, and information flow. In lateral organizations employees are rewarded for increasing their job knowledge and skills, but on the other hand there are less promotion opportunities (Bombaci, 2010).

Various costs

Work commitment, and stress, form of role overload are the various costs that are primarily associated with lateral organizational structures. Dysfunctional organizational behaviors can also be direct result of uncertainty and diversity in the reporting relations, but, this can be overcame with leadership by developing a detailed organizational chart which displays various reporting relationships as to who works for whom (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

Conclusion

So as you can see, management must diligently work and ensure organizational lateral structural arrangements ensure organizational goals. As each day passes in this ever changing environment, the competitive trends are definitely pushing organizations to become more efficient to ensure their survivability. “There are a very small numbers of companies which can afford to function in a vacuum; others should optimize their business activities” (Brindle & Mainiero, 2000).

References

Bombaci, S. A. (2010). Management structures: Business communication and organizational and management. Retrieved from http://www.hkiaat.org/images/uploads/articles/Management.pdf

Brindle, M. C., & Mainiero, L. (2000). Managing power through lateral networking. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Hernaus, T. (2008). Process-based organization. Retrieved from http://web.efzg.hr/repec/pdf/clanak 08-06.pdf

Jones, G. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (Sixth ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.

Pinto, j. (2010). Project management achieving competitive advantage. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Stanwick, P., & Stanwick, S. (2009). Understanding business ethics. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Wheelen, T., & Hunger, J. (2010). Concepts in strategic management and business policy: Achieving sustainability. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Writing, A. (2013). The advantages of a team-based lateral organizational structure. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-team-based-lateral-organizational-structure-718.html

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