An organisation can be any firm, business or company in the public or private sector. It can also be a structured body of a non-profit association. For any organisation to operate successfully, a structure must be in place so that employees work together to reach organisational targets and goals by using resources in an efficient and effective manner. Jones and George (2008: 385) define organisational structure as 'a formal system of task and reporting relationships that coordinates and motivates organizational members so that they work together to achieve organisational goals'. The way in which an organisation operates is determined by the structure it employs.
A structure interconnects the different departments that may exist within an organisation. An organisation's structure can be illustrated as a chart to show how these departments are connected. This illustration, according to Marcouse et. al. (2003:248) 'shows the departmental functions and who is answerable to whom'. Without a structure employees would not be clear about their roles and managers would be unclear of their span of control.
At the Eslington Villa, although it is a relatively small organisation, a structure must be in place so that all of the staff know their roles and who is directly responsible for them. There are numerous roles within the organisation, all within a different department and all with different managers responsible for that department.
A member of waiting staff is there to provide face-to-face customer service and is responsible to the restaurant manager, a chamber maid is employed to carry out tasks to ensure the cleanliness of the hotel rooms to a standard that is required by the organisation and a chef is there to prepare and cook food to a standard set by the head chef. All of the staff know which tasks are grouped into their particular jobs and what department their job is a part of. They also know who is in charge of each particular department so they know who to contact if they have to enquire about something. The structure is in place to separate these different tasks, jobs and departments to ensure the organisation runs in the most efficient way possible.Factors affecting organisational structure
There are many factors to consider when an organisation sets out in the design of its structure. The structure of organisations will differ from one organisation to the next depending on:
- the size of the organisation
- the skill levels of the employees (human resources)
- the strategy of the organisation
- the organisational environment
- the technology the organisation uses.
The size of the organisation - the larger an organisation, the more complex its structure will be. A small organisation may have no formal structure at all, but rather jobs and tasks are done according to the preferences of its employees. A larger organisation, however, will need to adopt a formal structure in order to reach its goals by delegating authority, grouping tasks into specific jobs and grouping jobs into different divisions.
The organisational environment - this is referred to as 'the world in which the organization operates' (www.cliffsnotes.com). The natural environment, the economic climate and socio-cultural conditions, as well as others, are all part of the organisation's environment. In a stable environment, the organisation and its structure are usually also very stable. If consumer needs are clearly understood and will remain consistent for a long time, the organisation will also remain consistent and the structure will remain stable.
The organisation's human resources -
The technology the organisation uses -
The strategy of the organisation -Different types of organisational structure
Depending on the goals of the organisation, the organisation can be structured in a number of ways.Management
Management is a function of an organisation. The role of any manager, in any organisation, is to plan, organise, lead and control resources to achieve the goals of the organisation in an efficient and effective manner. The resources are any assets the organisation is responsible for. These can include employees, machinery, factories, offices or any other buildings, computers, financial capital and customers.Management styles
'The way in which managers deal with their employees is known as their management style' (Marcouse et. al. 2003:234). Some managers will adopt a more strict approach and expect tasks to be done within deadlines whereas other managers will be more laid back and understanding of their employees. A manager's personality will have a major affect on the management style they adopt. A manager with a high level of confidence will find it easier to give out orders and be more authoritarian than a manager who is quite timid.
A manager's style can be categorised under one of three headings:
Autocratic - managers who adopt this approach are authoritarian. They dictate orders to employees and do not want any feedback from employees. Because employees are not consulted, decision making is very quick. However, the motivation levels of employees under an autocratic manager are usually very low because they don't feel valued and it is for that reason staff turnover can be very high.
Democratic - by comparison 'communication by democratic managers tends to be two way.' (Marcouse et. al. 2003:234). Staff are more involved in decision making processes and authority is delegated, giving them the responsibility to carry out tasks using their own methods. A lot of trust is put into employees and they are encouraged to make decisions. Motivation is very high under a democratic manager as employees feel valued.
Paternalistic - these managers are concerned with the social needs and general happiness of its employees. Paternalistic managers act as a father figure to employees (pater comes from the Latin term meaning father). They listen to employees and are interested in how happy they are in their work. However, decisions are still ultimately carried out by the person in charge.
A manager's style should not be set in stone. It should adapt to different situations. For example, in a crisis employees look for someone to take charge of the situation and put a plan into action by being very authoritative. An autocratic approach would be adopted in this situation. However, if employees are able to successfully get on with their work and the overall situation is very stable, a more democratic approach would be more appropriate.
The owner at Eslington Villa makes all of the big decisions and is there on a day-to-day basis to ensure the hotel's finances are all in order and to receive feedback from his subordinates; the general manager and the assistant manager. If there was a chart to show the structure of the organisation, he would be at the top of the hierarchy.
Below him there is the general manager. When he works motivation is high. He is a democratic manager as he trusts his subordinates to get on with their tasks in the restaurant while he takes orders and deals with customer queries. He believes the staff are capable of organising themselves and carrying out their tasks and therefore tends not to give out orders without the advice of his staff. He sticks to carrying out his tasks of taking orders and organising bills while others below him serve customers. Everything is organised and stable.
When he is not working, the assistant manager is in charge. Motivation is not high. She is very authoritarian and enjoys dictating orders to her subordinates without consultation. She is very much an autocratic manager. She enjoys the power of being in charge, so much so that it has an effect on her ability to manage, lead and motivate. Everything seems to be a lot more unorganised. but is more concerned with dishing orders out as she has no trust in her subordinates. Her subordinates tend not to agree with her style of management as they feel they have the knowledge and skills to get on with their tasks without an autocratic figure dictating proceedings, which has a negative effect on the efficiency of the organisation.Effective and efficient management
An efficient manager will use resources well to achieve organisational goals.
An effective manager will choose appropriate goals to pursue and achieve those goals successfully.
It is essential that any organisation's resources are used to their full potential to ensure maximum profit, while still delivering goods and services which satisfy customers. It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure this. For example, at the Eslington Villa, it is the responsibility of the head chef to minimise the amount of labour and materials used to produce dishes which reach the standards expected by paying customers. This can be done by planning how many chefs will be needed on any particular day and by ensuring those chefs minimise waste and produce high quality dishes as expected by the customers.
It is just as essential that an organisation's goals are selected which are appropriate and those goals are achieved. An example of this from the Eslington Villa is when the owner decided, at the start of 2009, to employ a reservations manager. It would be the job of the reservations manager, and the goal of the owner, to maximise the amount of rooms being sold to residents each night. The owner did this after a decline in room sales in the early part of the year during a time of recession. He felt it appropriate to hire someone with the expertise needed in order to achieve his goal of an incline in room reservation sales. His goal was achieved as now, although business isn't booming, sales have improved.Managerial functions
In order for an organisation to reach its goals and maintain a competitive advantage, management must carry out its four essential functions. These are planning, organising, leading and controlling. Henry Fayol, a management theorist, first outlined these four tasks as essential in a book called General and Industrial Management.
Planning - this is the first step in management. To be successful, managers must plan which goals are appropriate for the organisation and how the organisation should go about achieving those goals. Management must also plan how resources are used in order to achieve those goals.
Organising - 'the outcome of organising is the creation of an organisational structure' (Jones and George, 2008:13). It is this function of management that determines what tasks are to be grouped into each specific job, who will carry out each job and which department each job will be grouped into.
Leading - this is the task of influencing and motivating employees and encouraging them to perform to the best of their ability to help the organisation achieve its goals. Communication skills are key when a manager is leading a group of employees as it is through communication the manager's authority, personality and powers of persuasion and motivation are conveyed.
Controlling - a manager who is good at controlling is one who will monitor the organisation and determine how successful it is at achieving its goals. If improvements in performance are required, the manager should take the necessary actions to ensure this. Managers will, according to Jones and George (2008:13-14) 'monitor the performance of individuals, departments, and the organisation as a whole to see whether they are meeting desired performance standards'. Controlling tasks also give managers themselves the opportunity to measure how well they are performing their other main functions - leading, organising and planning - and to take necessary actions to improve.
During the summer at Eslington Villa, the main source of income is through weddings. There are sometimes as many as four weddings a week during peak periods. Each wedding must be carefully planned, organised, lead and controlled because it is a big day for the hotel (a lot of money and a reputation is at stake) and an even bigger day for the wedding couple. Because the stakes are high, and expectation is high, everything must run smoothly.
Planning procedures are in place to ensure the wedding couple get what they want from the day and to ensure the organisation uses it resources efficiently to achieve expectations.
Management must ensure the hotel is organised and ready for the event by employing the correct amount of staff for the day, and ensuring the staff remain informed and motivated for the remainder. It can be a long day for an employee during a wedding, working at least 12 hours usually into the early hours of the morning on a Saturday night. A manager's ability to motivate its staff is a key asset during these times.
After such an event, managers should evaluate (control) how everything went. If any improvements are to be made, they should take the necessary actions to improve during the next event.Applying principles of direction, co-ordination and motivation
Marcouse et al. (2003:305), define organisational change as 'the movement of an organisation from its current state to a new position which is believed to be more desirable'. An organisation may change as a result of external factors (which is referred to reactive change) or internal factors (proactive change). Managers may carry out a SWOT analysis of the organisation in order to establish if any changes are needed.
- S - Strengths
- W - Weaknesses
- O - Opportunities
- T - Threats
A change in response to an analysis of the organisation's strengths and weaknesses is a proactive change. The organisation is identifying and responding to factors under its own control. If changes have to happen in response to opportunities and threats, this is a reactive change as the organisation is reacting to factors in the external environment, out if its own control.Managing change
It is the responsibility of management to ensure the organisation runs as efficiently and effectively as possible, as discussed earlier. Management must asses the current state of the organisation and decide how the organisation can improve. Any improvements will affect the way the organisation operates. Changes may be needed. For management to be successful at implementing change there are four steps to go through:
The first step in any change is recognising that there is a problem which needs to be dealt with. Then a plan should be established, detailing the organisation's current state, where it wants to be and how to get there. For example, the owner of Eslington Villa very recently decided that the organisation would be more efficient if the layout of the building was changed slightly. There is currently only one bar which is used for serving three separate rooms. One of these rooms is the function room at the top of the building, used for large parties and wedding discos. Having this large separate room is a strength of the organisation, being able to cope with such events. However, its weakness is that it would be a lot more efficient if this room had its own bar, as it would reduce congestion in the lounge area where the current only bar is situated. It would also reduce the amount of time it would take for a member of waiting staff to collect a drink for a customer situated in the function room.
The organisation is responding to the internal strengths and weaknesses and changing in order to become more efficient.
The plan involved knocking a wall down through to where the manager's office is currently situated, adjacent to the function room. This is where the new bar will be. However, this would leave no office so it's planned the office will be combined with reception which is situated at the main entrance to the hotel. This combination of reception/office, as well as the new bar, is ideal for the hotel.
Next, management must implement the change. The most important factor to consider when implementing change is people, the organisation's employees. Employees are an organisation's greatest asset. If this asset isn't able to cope with change, then the organisation will ultimately fail. Individuals are likely to resist change because:
- They are threatened with job loss
- Uncertain what the future holds
- Worried about the inability to work with new technology
- They may be threatened with loss of status or authority
All of these problems can be overcome with the ability to do one thing. Communicate. If management is able to communicate effectively, employees will understand why a new approach is necessary. Everybody who will be affected by the change should be informed of the progress at each stage of the process. By keeping everybody informed reduces the uncertainty and therefore resistance to change is also reduced.
After implementing the change, management must control it. The final outcome of the change should match with the predetermined 'where we want to be'. The process should not lose momentum. Targets can be set by management, such as dates for each step to be completed by, to ensure momentum is not lost.
After the change is complete, a review should take place. Management should decide if the change has had the desired effect and what else can be done to improve the organisation's development.Organisations responding to internal and external factors
Management of organisations must constantly monitor the internal and external environment, and adapt to any change in conditions or performance.
Organisations that operate in a very dynamic environment, where things are constantly changing, must evolve to meet the changing conditions and remain competitive. Organisations changing in response to external factors are said be acting in a reactive way, they are reacting to circumstances out of their own control. Organisations must monitor their competitors and the economic climate. A recession might trigger a downturn in sales. The organisation would have to adapt to this by cutting costs, which in turn forces the organisation to change the way it operates.
New and innovative technology which makes production more efficient will affect the way organisations operate.Government policies
Organisations who are constantly changing are more successful when changes must occur because they are well practiced at it. An organisation which has seen itself in a very stable environment for a long period of time may struggle when a change is forced upon it, as management have not had to cope with such an event, and employees may resist change because they have not experienced it before. Anxiety will be high and morale low among employees, which makes the process of change that all more difficult for the inexperienced management.