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Organizational design research worksheet

RUNNING HEAD: ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN RESEARCH WORKSHEET Organizational Design Research Worksheet Organizational Design Research Worksheet
There exist five organizational structures which any organization can adapt to their specific needs. These structures combine varying elements of mechanistic and organic structures. Mechanistic in the sense that the systems were characterized by extensive rules and procedures and the centralization of authority as first proposed by renowned sociologist Max Weber in the 1880’s. Organic structures on the other hand recognize the importance of human behavior and cultural influences in an organization. Elton Mayo proposed this type of organizational structure (Jacobaides, 2007).
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was the first company to implement a formal matrix structure. They implemented the matrix system in their space program because it needed to simultaneously implement different projects at the same time. A matrix structure was the best option for NASA because unlike other structures, the matrix structure was less bureaucratic, slow-moving or hierarchical. It also enabled them to make every department independent of each other by equipping them with their own staffing and financing resources (Teitel, 2002). This defied the old models that had a single department to cater for the entire organization making it mandatory for one to consult and await approval before embarking on any project.
Despite the matrix structure benefits, there existed some downsides for the organization. Some employees found themselves reporting to more than one superior at the same time making it real confusing for them to execute decisions which overlapped. This brought about a lot of problems for both the superiors and the subordinates. There was also duplication of work within the organization because all projects seemed to be self-sufficient in running all their affairs including the preparation of paperwork. This meant that the organization had many departments performing a similar function for example all projects had their own finance department. Despite the cons of this structure the pros outweighed them and the model has been seen to be adopted by many more organizations since its formal implementation by NASA. NASA was therefore successful in the implementation of this design (John, 2008).
The most traditional of all the models of organization structures was the functional structure. It is sometimes referred to as the bureaucratic structure because of the existence of a rigid chain of command. Of all the structures it is the least complicated and easiest to understand. It is characterized by the existence of departments divided by the function they are supposed to carry out. For instance, the finance department is required to coordinate the flow of the company’s funds within and without the company. This structure has clearly marked authority distinctions within the hierarchy and lines of authority eliminating the risk of confusion among the employees. The functional structure is best suited for firms which produce clearly related group of products or a single product. Banking industries mostly use this type of structure especially in the earlier years. For example IBM had such a structure before 1988 where clear distinctions were made between all their departments such as research and development and finance. Despite the functional structure’s simplicity, the inflexibility nature of this structure and the bureaucratic nature make this structure unfavorable to most organizations. There is also the fact that most organizations in this day and age are forced to constantly diversify their product range making the functional structure the least suitable to handle the needs of the organization. IBM therefore had to change from this model because it proved to be unsuccessful after it incurred great losses for the company before they changed the structure in 1988 (Forgey, 2004).
John E. Catchpole (2008). The International Space Station: Building for the Future. Springer-Praxis.
Teitel, Amy (2002). ” A Mixed Bag for NASAs 2012 Budget”. DiscoveryNews. Benjamin
Forgey (2004). ” In the IBM Image; Honoring the Corporations Buildings”. Washington Post.
Jacobides., M. G. (2007). The inherent limits of organizational structure and the unfulfilled role of hierarchy: Lessons from a near-war. Organization Science, 18, 3, 455-477.

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