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Authority-responsibility relationships

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Published: Tue, 09 May 2017

Modern organizations are constantly trying to incorporate a humanistic approach in order to keep their employees happy. Organizational behavior is greatly affected by changes that occur inside the company. One that is seen as most important is that of the changes in organizational structures. The old way of doing things with bureaucratic models have given way to modern models using project and matrix designs. Every organization has objectives and goals that it strives to achieve. In order to do so, the people in the organization must work together. The activities of each of these individuals are broken down by authority-responsibility relationships. These relationships are often formed on the basis of the job hierarchy (Organizational behavior and basics, n.d.).

An organization is a group of individuals that are broken down into different levels of authority and segments based on specialty for the intention of achieving the goals and objectives that have been set by the organization. When objectives are established for these groups a process is used to identifying and group the work that is to be performed. Responsibility and authority roles are also defined and delegated while relationships are established for the purpose of enabling the people to work most effectively together (Organizational behavior and basics, n.d.).

Administration of an effective organization determines the goals that the company as a whole strives towards. Organizations often evolve out of a need clear, well defined system or structure, that allows people to execute their work responsibilities. This structure helps employees to relate to each other, organize their activities, and achieve the goals or objectives that have been set by the organization. It helps to minimize confusion, maintain an ideal environment and maximizes effectiveness (Organizational behavior and basics, n.d.).

Hewlett-Packard is an example of a company that uses modern organizational behavior in order to emphasize productivity and good employee relations. In 2000, Hewlett-Packard was one of five winners of the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership. This company was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and David Packard. Early on this company has a good philosophy that encouraged good employee relations. David Packard fashioned the concept of management by walking around as a means to achieve a high involvement and open work culture. HP has been both a leader in technology and in human resource management practices. As a leader in technology HP designed and produced the first handheld scientific calculator. As a management innovator HP introduced the radical notion of flexible work hours and removed time clocks as a way to show respect for and trust in its employees (Organizational Behavior in Changing Times, n.d.).

HP is a $41-billion-a-year business that consists of seven major product lines and three service lines. HP products include computer desktops and workstations, mobile products, printing and digital imaging products, storage products, servers, networking products, and software. The services lines include e-services, personal services, and business services. HP has approximately 88,500 employees and was one of the first companies to formalize telecommuting policies for its employees. The company has more than 540 sales and support offices and distributorships in 120 countries worldwide (Organizational Behavior in Changing Times, n.d.).

The Santa Rosa Systems Division of Hewlett Packard (SRSD) was created in 1992 in order to target a new systems integration opportunity in the ever growing communication business sector. In 1994 SRSD faced many challenges that threatened its success as well as that of its leadership team. Those in the organization saw the following things as major issues:

  • There were two competing strategies that were threatening to divide the organization
  • There were problems between two functions that were competing for common engineering resources. This problem was caused by a functional structure that had very poorly designed cross-functional business teams
  • The cross-functional teams that were not effectively led or managed and did not produce any needed coordination
  • There was a top team that was not effective.
  • There was a general manager who was not confronting and resolving key strategic and organizational issues.
  • There was low trust throughout the organization that prevented organizational problems from being discussed and managed.
  • There was underperformance in the rate of growth and profitability as well as low morale and turnover of key technical people (Beer, 2002).

In order to help address these issues HP used a technique know as Organizational Fitness Profiling (OFP). This process enabled the leadership team to bring these problems to the surface and make changes that allowed the business unit to capitalize on many market opportunities. The leadership team and many of the key managers in theSanta Rosadivision had grown up in Hewlett Packard’s traditional business environment. Fitness Profiling enabled the leadership team to have an honest organizational conversation about the behaviors that were silent killers and diagnose the root causes (Beer, 2002).

HP is a technology company that operates in more than 170 countries worldwide. They explore how technology and services can help people and companies address their problems and challenges while pursing their own possibilities, aspirations and dreams. They apply new thinking and ideas to create more simple, valuable and trusted experiences with technology. They are continuously improving the way that their customers live and work (Hewlett-Packard, 2009).

Not many other companies offer as complete a technology product portfolio as HP does. They provide infrastructure and business offerings that range from handheld devices to some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. They offer consumers a wide range of products and services from digital photography to digital entertainment and from computing to home printing. This comprehensive portfolio helps them match the right products, services and solutions to their customers’ specific needs (Hewlett-Packard, 2009).

Hewlett Packard’s motto for their employees consists of Stretch. Strive. Succeed. This is a standard that they demand not only from themselves but from their employees as well. When a person goes to work at HP, they are given every opportunity to stretch their talents, strive for new solutions and succeed beyond what they thought was possible. And when the employee does this they are recognized and rewarded as they grow with the company (Hewlett-Packard, 2009).

This approach is what has made HP the world’s leading information Technology Company and keeps them moving in new and interesting directions. This is how they have been able to provide ideas that help people around the world connect, create and accomplish amazing things. It’s why their people are experts in so many areas including marketing, finance, HR, sales, IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, business technology solutions, global services, and imaging and printing for consumers, enterprises, and small and medium businesses. They believe that when you bring great minds together in over 170 countries, each person has a hand in driving the innovations that make the world a better place (Hewlett-Packard, 2009).

The Sociotechnical system (STS) redesign process that was used by HP in order to chronicle the process as it actually occurs includes documenting how changes in managers’ and employees’ beliefs and behaviors as they are produced. STS redesign is not a new management trend but was first detailed by Eric Trist and his associates of the Tavistock Institute in 1963. Central to STS redesign are two principles. The first is that work is comprised of both social and technical components, while the second is that organizations are open systems. The second concept is composed of two important concepts. Organizations are open meaning that they are constantly interacting and negotiating with their environment. Just as significant is the character of their system. Real change occurs only with attention to all aspects of the organization. In order to implement STS redesign, top management must sponsor and demonstrate commitment to the change and the redesign team must be composed of employees from all levels of the organization. This is a change process designed by the workers whose work is being redesigned. Guiding principles include employee involvement, the reallocation of power and authority down the hierarchical ladder, open communications, and system wide transformation. Structurally, the result is an organization composed of self-managing teams (Besser, 1999). 


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