Using organisational structure and design theory


The structure of an organisation and its role in achieving the organisation's goals is very crucial. In many organisations there this is a channel through which formation is passed.

Daft(1995),defined organisational structure as the visible representation for a whole set of underlying activities, processes in an orgainsation.The members of the organisation interact to achieve the objective of the organisation as a whole. An organisation therefore exists for a purpose and it has specific objectives to be attained.

Mannud.L also posited that organisational design is a key feature for allowing an individual to achieve their personal needs as well as objective of the organisation. Moorhead and Griffin (1995), stated that the organisational design coordinates the efforts of the people, work groups and departments.

The structure and design of an organisation will no doubt determine if the goals of the organisation and that of the work force would be achieved. The organisational design provides a framework with which the individual and group can work effectively in order to meet collective goals.

Integrating Organisational structure and Design to Achieve Its Goals.

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The essence of the structure is to order and coordinate the action of the employees to achieve the organisational goals. In the contemporary business environment, for an organisation to succeed ,it must move away from the classic type of structure where decision making is always top-down characterised by a high level of bureaucracy; and it reflects an autocratic system, where employees have no say in the organisation. This kind of structure would not bring out the best in the employees.

For an organisation to achieve its goals, the structure should be flat because this guarantees a better flow of communication within the organisation and eliminates 'bureaucratic bottleneck'. To achieve success as a manager, the structure and design of the organisation should involve the employees in decision making processes as this would boost their self worth and create a feeling of importance and high self esteem, this would motivate the employee to perform more productively and also increase their efficiency as result of the design, there would be division of labour within the structure and this leads to specialisation. The design should be such that the span of control, authority and responsibility must be clearly defined, as it would enable to employees to know what their task are and who is accountable for what.

The manager should be able to delegate responsibility and task, he must however possess authority as it would enable him coordinate, control and plan employee activities towards organisational and individual goals. The manager should take cognisance of the the organization's environment, technology and size in its design.

The design also must allow for rethinking or reengineering as the prevailing situations surrounding the organisation changes.

A structure that encourages employee empowerment and development, and training will enhance the success of the organisation.

Dimensions and designs of organisational structure

The purpose of organisational structure is basically to allocate work and responsibilities in order to direct activities and achieve organisational goals

Structure enables managers to plan organise direct and control the activities of the organisation.

When early entrepreneurs first set up the enterprises they followed the hierarchical command and controlled structure. they believed that centralised production with divisionolised labour offered more control over their workers. they were considered more as a scientific bean and were only work conscious. this was an important factor in the design of early industrial organisations. this approach was reinforced by Taylor

The development of new technology and new machinery for production further influenced the design of early business. the machines were all important and most workers became machine operator or hands and individual skills and traditional ways of working were replaced and lost.

Hendry fayol is credited by many as being the founder of modern management theory and practice.

At the beginning of the 20th century he advocated an organisational structure that was was viewed as being all about planning organising forecasting, coordinating, controlling and monitoring.

Classical science structure

Modern management structure


Non hierarchical


Non linear

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Reductionist(us &them)



Self organised








Hierarchy is a way where power in an organisation is delegated.the problem of largely hierarchical orgnanisation lies in the flow of communication.when there are several layers it is very difficult to get messages sent from bottom to the top.

Eg-some employees say communication problem in a company and micro management in their company is intolerable.


Formalisation refers to the rules,regulations and norms of an organisation.communication between members of an organisation in typically formalised in some fashion.

How formal an organisation may seem all organisations started very informally.

Eg-microsoft had its humble beginnings.


assigning and transferring decision making authority to higher levels of an organisational hierarchy.

Decision making has been moved to higher levels of an organisation such as head office/corporate centre.

Knowledge, information,innovative ideas are concentrated at the top and decisions are cascaded down the organisation.

Span of control of top management is relatively broad.

Strength of centralisation

Decision making -strong, authoritarian

Execution -decisive,fast,coordinated,able to respond quickly

Org change -shaped by top, vision of leader


assigning and transferring decision making authority is delegated to lower level of an organisational hierarchy.

Decision making moved to lower levels such as divisions,branches,departments,subsidiaries

Knowledge,information,innovative ideas flow from bottom of the organisation

Span of control of top managers are relatively small due to more autonomy in lower levels.

Decision making-democratic, participative

Organisational change-emerges from interactions

Execution-flexible to adapt to minor issues and changes



Authorities and relations organized in such a way as to enable the organization to perform its function. The underlying structure by which jobs, tasks are distributed, shaped & bring the different elements of an organization into an efficient relationship.

    The organizational design process provides a clear definition of goals and responsibilities for each unit within the organization. It also inevales that to change or to developed an organizational structure for the betterment of an organization.

 Description of organizational Structure

There are three main structures functional structures are where employees work in different deportments to go through to make contact with the person at the top.

In case of TESCO organizational structures they have two organizational structures, one for the company as a whole, which includes the Board of Director (BOD) and the other one is the structure used within each of there stores. The store structure that TESCO uses is a simple as it allows employees to see easily who is in charge of each department or who their department Manager is.

    In our view the organizational structures exists in TESCO is a flat decentralized this mean that decisions about the store can be made by managers of a store and keep to provide better customer services .

    In every TESCO store has a store Manager to making decision relating store & afterword's every manager will have to present region report to the regional manager. So in TESCO's store power of decision making is assigned to lower level management who is working within the store so they can make decision which make the customer satisfied.

    Impacts of decartelized structure of TESCO crucial decision mostly managed by Senior Manager so they can focous all one,s attention on specific objective. Due to decentralized flat organizational structure a manager feel comfortable and ease to mak decision staff of the TECSO,S organization have more responsibility so it can help them to motivate them and improve level of work.

    It can create improved communication between staff.. It create ability among the staff to judge the situation within their work environment which will expand their knowledge and experience.. So they are able to take quick decision against challenges which bring more opportunities and cheerful changes of accepting them and carrying them out more efficiently.

    There are less management levels so there are less costs but managers are usually paid more then normal workers. Top bottom chain of command is short but on the other hand Spain of control is much wider then other which will improve the efficiently of organization.

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Effects that organization structure of TESCO can limit growth of business some time. Because of flat organization structure managers can take quick decision avoiding to the situation but when they change the method of doing something it will take some time for the staff to adopt that method which will limit the growth.

    Some time workers & staff have more then one manager which will obstruct the performance of an organization because managers wants to apply different methods according to their own finding or ideas, so it is barrier in way of proper communication among the staff Flat organization structure usually common with small kind of business who have no effects on the performance of business. if  the managers wants to change the nature of business it would be easier for smaller business because smaller business can survive this situation but for the large organizations  like TESCO   they will have to face problems in that case.



 Whatever form of structure is adopted, whether flat, hierarchy or matrix, it has effects on the organizational effectiveness. No structure is good or bad but it depends on the organization and the structure that meets the need of the organization in order to achieve its goal.


A clear organizational design and establishing of a strong organizational structure can increase or maximize a company's effectiveness.

The hierarchical structure easily implement common policy for the organization as a whole and provides a consistent strategy across the organization. It prevent s sub-units becoming too independent which make co-ordination and management control easier.

This structure helps to improve economies of scale and reduce overhead cost. It encourage greater use of specialization and improves decision making because people normally compromise due to authorithy

This structure also assumes that the average person is lazy and has an inherant dislike for work.Therfore, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment, so that the organization can achieve its objective. It also assumes that an average person avoids responsibility, prefer to be directed, lack of ambition and value security.


The Flat structure maximise a company's effectiveness because it enables decisions to be made closer to the operational level of work. Due to the decentralization in the flat structure, responsiveness to the local circumstances is increased and the level of personal customer servuce is improved. This is a flexible structure and as such, it respond to future demands and developments and adopt easily to changing environmental influences. 

This also provides opportunities for training and development in management..   

This structure also assumes that people will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which they are commited, because for most people, work is as natural as play or rest.

It also assumes that given the rigth conditions, the average workermcan accept and seek responsibility.This provides the opportunity for staff to accept greater responsibility and make higher level of personal contribution.

Usually, this structure has an encouraging effect on the motivation and morale of staff and thes create an organizational environment in which the staff work willingly and effectively. To achieve organizational effectiveness, the human element must be considered because the actual operation of the organization and the success in meeting the business objcetives depends on the behavior of people who work within the structure. That is why ''Drucker'' said ''Good organizational structure does not by itself produce good performance. But a poor organizational structure makes good performance impossible, no matter how good the individual managers may be.


On the other hand, an organizational structure can have adverse effect on the organizational effectiveness. 

The hierarchical structure restricts individual growth and self-fulfillment and this causes a feeling of failure, frustration and conflicts. That is why Argyris argued that organization should provide a more authentic relationship for its members.

Individuals may develop a depence upon bureaucratic status, symbols and rules due to over-emphasis on rules and procedures. This stifles initiative and when a situation is not covered by a complete set of rules or procedures , there may be a lack of flexibility adaptation to  changing circumstances.

The hierarchical struture also leads to low motivation and morale. This is because there is insufficient delegation, lack of clarity in job definition and assessment of performance. Lack of relevant, timely information to the right people and inadequate procedures for revaluation of past decision can lead to late and inappropriate decision.


The flat struture also exhibit adverse effects on the organizational effectiveness.

This struture inhibit the flow of effective communication between top management nd workforce. It also reduces the opportunities for promotion achievement or enhanced status ann limits opportunities for the training and development of future managers.


Ideally, business organizations should attempt to blend the benefits of both structures. The essence of organizations has shifted and will continue to shift from focusing on structure to capability. Capability represents what the organization is able to do and how it does it rather than the more visible picture of who reports to whom and which rules governs  what work.

Meanwhile, putting an effective organizational structure into place can increase effectiveness, productivity, improve operating costs and employee satisfaction.


To conclude, organisations in the 20th century with modern management and also the scientific management saw wide scale experimentation with organisation structure.

Moreover organisations and those leading them need to critically analyse the organisational structure and the importance of underpinning design and the key role they play in improving performance, enhancing sustainability and satisfying human dimensions.

The design and structure of an organisation are the important component that could make or break any organisation.Consequently,the structure and design if properly executed would ensure an organisation achieving it goal and objectives.