Examples of Work Specialization
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Published: Mon, 10 Jul 2017
Work specialization is a term used to describe the extent to which work is divided into smaller units which is completed by a single individual. it includes division of labor in which a single person completes repetitively a single step of the complete task. it enables workers to become experts at a single task but the repetitive nature of the task can be boring.
E.g. in a bakery that uses batch production , one semi skilled individual prepares the dough, the other cuts the dough into pieces followed by a worker who prepares the bread or cake and the other who decorates it and still others that deliver the cake. The same workers do the same task for each batch of bread cake or other desserts.
DEPARTMENTALISATION is the basis on which the jobs that are divided due to work specialization are grouped together into logical units. the grouping is based on common aspects of the jobs that can be coordinated and evaluated. there are different techniques of departmentalization:
Functional departmentalization-is when jobs are grouped according to activities or its functions. It is a very common form of departmentalization. Functional departments usually include marketing , sales, human resource, finance departments respectively. The advantage is that workers specializing in the tasks are put together.
E.g. Shell is divided along various functional departments such as marketing department ,project development, training and research, human resource department, finance management department and operational department.
Product or service departmentalization-is when the organization is divided on the basis of different products or services created by the firm. This helps to focus on specific product lines efficiently.
e.g. insurance companies usually departmentalize along different services such as a life insurance department, a fire insurance department, an accident and health department , liability department and others.
Geographical departmentalization-refers to when the organization is divided with respect to different areas of geography served by the business. it is usually opted in multinational firms or firms that have operations in different regions of the same country.
e.g. HEC Pakistan is divided into its regional centers with their own regional directors. the regional centers are regional centre Karachi, regional centre Lahore and regional centre Quetta.
Process departmentalization-is when the organization is divided according to different processes used in creating a product or service of the business. It is used when different processes requiring different machinery and skills to make a product are used in businesses.
e.g.in the insurance companies, to claim insurance for an accident you have to pass through many departments to complete a process. first the application department takes the application followed the survey department that survey the accident then the payment processing department.
Customer departmentalization-is when the organization is divided to offer their services or products to separate identifiable customer groups. it is used when the firm caters to the needs of separate customer categories.
e.g. Nike the sports goods manufacturer divides its product lines into customer categories such as professional athletes, amateur athletes, males athletes, women athletes. And therefore has divisions that caters to the needs of these separate customer groups.
CHAIN OF COMMAND
Chain of command-refers to the unbroken line of authority that starts from the top level of the organization to the lower level. It shows the relationship between individuals working in an organization and to whom they report to and who they are responsible for. It works on the principle of unity of command which states that worker should have only one superior to report to in order to avoid confusion. it is an increasingly obsolete phenomenon in the dynamic firms that do not follow the strict hierarchical organization structure.
e.g.in the U.S. marine the lowest level fire teams are commanded by a corporal, three such teams form a rifle squad that is commanded by a corporal who in turn is commanded by the lt. the lieutenant , is commanded by the captain and finally the captain reports to the lt. colonelâ€¦in this example the line of authority starts from the lieutenant. colonel extending all the way to the members of the fire team.the following figure shows the chain of command the blue arrows that face downawards show the line of authority.
SPAN OF CONTROL
Span of control-refers to the number of subordinates working directly under a manager. span of control can be:
- wide-with a larger number of subordinates working under one manager, or ,
- narrow- with lesser number of subordinates working under a manger.
The chain of command and span of control are inversely proportional a wide span of control would mean a shorter chain of command and a narrower span of control would lead to a taller chain of command. Wider span of control are regarded as beneficial because it shortens the chain of command and bureaucratic structure in an organization and leads to more delegation to employees .However a very wide span of control would cause controlling problems for the manger.
e.g. in the above example of the marine forces. the corporal of the fire team has 3 fire team members working under him. so the span of control is 3.furthermore,3 such fire teams come under the control ofthe lieutenant , therefore his span of control is also 3.
CENTRALISATION AND DECENTRALISATION
Centralization and decentralization refer to the degree to which decisions making authority is distributed within an organization.
Centralization-is when the entire decision making authority is in the hands of the central management of the firm and no lower level involvement is required in making decisions for the firm. it is useful when the decision are strategic and serious in nature and involve a lot of risk. however the lower level employees feel alienated and demotivated as they feel that they have no say in the decisions that affect their work life.
e.g. McDonalds practice centralization because as a franchise all the advertising decision have to be approved by the top level management. Every decision involving the procedure to create burgers and employee training ,even cleaning schedules is decided by the top level management. Other firms that have stable practices also use centralization.
Decentralization-is when the decision making authority is delegated to the managerial levels just below the top level i.e. not all the decision making authority lies in the hands of the top level management. Decentralized organizations are often more flexible and productive at deciding because the managers are closer to the action and the workers are motivated as they feel more involved in the decision making process, however it is not suitable for strategic decisions.
E.g. Khaadi Khaas ,the clothing brand in Pakistan employees decentralization as it allows the store managers at different outlets discretion in how they want to set up or decorate the outlet. The decoration need not be approved by the regional managers.
Formalization-refers to the extent to which jobs are standardized within an organization .it refers to the degree to which the employee has to follow the given pattern to do his/her job.
A highly formalized job-is when the worker knows exactly what is asked from him, he cannot add any innovations to performing the task and there are a great many organizational rules to follow and a given set of procedures to follow.
e.g. Armed forces are highly formalized jobs as there are strict procedures at every step for the workers to follow. The time to wake up train eat everything is standardized and no discretion is allowed at jobs.
A lowly formalized job-is when the job behavior of the work is less programmed or subjected to numerous rules ,he can exercise much discretion in the job and has a somewhat free hand to add his inputs in the job and there are no strict procedures to follow.
e.g. scientists are workers who have low formalized job as there are no strict procedures to follow while experimenting.
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