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Organizational Theory, Design, and Change

Sixth Edition Gareth R. Jones

Chapter 4
Basic Challenges of Organizational Design
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Learning Objectives
1. Describe the four basic organizational design challenges confronting managers and consultants 2. Discuss the way in which these challenges must be addressed simultaneously if a high-performing organizational structure is to be created

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Learning Objectives (cont.)


3. Distinguish among the design choices that underlie the creation of either a mechanistic or an organic structure 4. Recognize how to use contingency theory to design a structure that fits an organizations environment

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Differentiation
The process by which an organization allocates people and resources to organizational tasks Establishes the task and authority relationships that allow the organization to achieve its goals Division of labor: the degree of specialization in the organization
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Differentiation (cont.)
In a simple organization, differentiation is low because the division of labor is low

Individuals typically perform all organizational tasks

In a complex organization, differentiation is high because the division of labor is high


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Figure 4.1: Design Challenge

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Figure 4.1: Design Challenge


(cont.)

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Figure 4.1: Design Challenge


(cont.)

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Figure 4.1: Design Challenge


(cont.)

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Figure 4.1: Design Challenge


(cont.)

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Organizational Roles
Set of task-related behaviors required of a person by his or her position in an organization

As the division of labor increases, managers specialize in some roles and hire people to specialize in others Specialization allows people to develop their individual abilities and knowledge within their specific role

Organizational structure is based on a system of interlocking roles


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Organizational Roles (cont.)


Authority: the power to hold people accountable for their actions and to make decisions concerning the use of organizational resources Control: the ability to coordinate and motivate people to work in the organizations interests

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Subunits: Functions and Divisions


Function: a subunit composed of a group of people, working together, who possess similar skills or use the same kind of knowledge, tools, or techniques to perform their jobs Division: a subunit that consists of a collection of functions or departments that share responsibility for producing a particular good or service Organizational complexity: the number of different functions and divisions possessed by an organization

Degree of differentiation

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Function Types
Support functions: facilitate an organizations control of its relations with its environment and its stakeholders

Production functions: manage and improve the efficiency of an organizations conversion processes so that more value is created

Purchasing, sales and marketing, public relations, and legal affairs

Production operations, production control, and quality control


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Function Types (cont.)


Maintenance functions: enable an organization to keep its departments in operation

Personnel, engineering, and janitorial services

Adaptive functions: allow an organization to adjust to changes in the environment

Research and development, market research, and long-range planning


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Function Types (cont.)


Managerial functions: facilitate the control and coordination of activities within and among departments

Acquisition of, investment in, and control of resources

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Figure 4.2: Building Blocks of Differentiation

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Vertical and Horizontal Differentiation


Hierarchy: a classification of people
according to their relative authority and rank Vertical differentiation: the way an organization designs its hierarchy of authority and creates reporting relationships to link organizational roles and subunits
Establishes the distribution authority between levels

Horizontal differentiation: the way an

organization groups organizational tasks into roles and roles into subunits (functions and divisions)
Roles differentiated according to their main task responsibilities
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Figure 4.3: Organizational Chart of the B.A.R. and Grille

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Figure 4.4: Organizational Design Challenges

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Balancing Differentiation and Integration


Horizontal differentiation is supposed to enable people to specialize and become more productive

Specialization often limits communication between subunits People develop subunit orientation

Subunit orientation: a tendency to view ones role in the organization strictly from the perspective of the time frame, goals, and interpersonal orientations of ones subunit
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Balancing Differentiation and Integration (cont.)


When subunit orientation occurs, communication fails and coordination becomes difficult Integration: the process of coordinating various tasks, functions, and divisions so that they work together and not at cross-purposes

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Types of Integration Mechanisms


Hierarchy of authority: dictates who reports to whom Direct contact: managers meet face to face to coordinate activities

Problematic that a manager in one function has no authority over a manager in another

Liaison roles: a specific manager is given responsibility for coordinating with managers from other subunits on behalf of their subunits
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Types of Integration Mechanisms (cont.)


Task force: managers meet in temporary committees to coordinate cross-functional activities

Task force members responsible for taking coordinating solutions back to their respective functions for further input and approval

Teams: a permanent task force used to deal with ongoing strategic or administrative issues
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Types of Integration Mechanisms (cont.)


Integrating role: a new, full-time role established to improve communications between divisions

Focused on company-wide integration

Integrating department: a new department intended to coordinate the activities of functions or divisions

Created when many employees enact integrating roles


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Table 4.1: Types and Examples of Integrating Mechanisms

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Figure 4.5: Integrating Mechanisms

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Figure 4.5: Integrating Mechanisms (cont.)

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Figure 4.5: Integrating Mechanisms (cont.)

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Balancing Differentiation and Integration


Managers facing the challenge of deciding how and how much to differentiate and integrate must:

Carefully guide the process of differentiation so that it develops the core competences that give the organization a competitive advantage Carefully integrate the organization by choosing appropriate integrating mechanisms that allow subunits to cooperate and that build up the organizations core competences
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Balancing Centralization and Decentralization


Centralized organization: the authority to make important decisions is retained by top level managers

Top managers able to coordinate activities to keep the organization focused on its goals

Decentralized organization: the authority to make important decisions is delegated to managers at all levels in the hierarchy

Promotes flexibility and responsiveness


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Balancing Centralization and Decentralization (cont.)


Ideal balance entails:

Enabling middle and lower managers who are at the scene of the action to make important decisions Allowing top managers to focus on longterm strategy making

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Balancing Standardization and Mutual Adjustment


Standardization: conformity to specific models or examples that are considered proper in a given situation

Defined by rules and norms

Mutual adjustment: the process through which people use their judgment rather than standardized rules to address problems, guide decision making, and promote coordination Formalization: the use of rules and procedures to standardize operations
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Balancing Standardization and Mutual Adjustment (cont.)


Socialization: Understood Norms

Rules: formal, written statement that specify the appropriate means for reaching desired goals Norms: standards or styles of behavior that are considered typical for a group of people

May arise informally External rules may become internalized norms

Socialization: the process by which organizational members learn the norms of an organization and internalize these unwritten rules of conduct
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Standardization versus Mutual Adjustment


Challenge facing managers is:

To find a way of using rules and norms to standardize behavior, and to allow for mutual adjustment to give managers opportunity to discover new and better ways to achieve goals

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Mechanistic and Organic Organizational Structures


Mechanistic structures: designed to induce people to behave in predictable, accountable ways

Decision-making authority is centralized Subordinates are closely supervised Information flows mainly in a vertical direction along a clearly defined path Hierarchy principal integrating mechanism Tasks and roles coordinated primarily through standardization and formal written rules Best suited to organizations that face stable, unchanging environments
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Mechanistic and Organic Organizational Structures (cont.)


Organic structures: structures that promote flexibility, so people initiate change and can adapt quickly to changing conditions

Decision making distributed throughout the hierarchy Coordination is achieved through mutual adjustments Status conferred by ability to provide creative leadership Encourages innovative behavior Suited to dynamic environments
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Figure 4.6: How the Design Challenges Result in Mechanistic and Organic Structures

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Figure 4.7: Task and Role Relationships

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Contingency Approach
A management approach in which the design of an organizations structure is tailored to the sources of uncertainty facing an organization Organization should design its structure to fit its environment

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Figure 4.8: Fit Between the Organization and Its Environment

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Lawrence & Lorsch: Differentiation, Integration, and the Environment


Investigated how companies in different industries differentiate and integrate their structures to fit the environment

Three industries that experienced different levels of uncertainty:

The plastics industry The food-processing industry The container or can-manufacturing industry
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Table 4.2: The Effect of Uncertainty on Differentiation and Integration in Three Industries

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Findings: Lawrence and Lorsch


When environment is perceived as more unstable and uncertain:

Effective organizations are less formalized, more decentralized, and rely more on mutual adjustment

When environment is perceived as stable and certain:

Effective organizations have a more centralized, standardized, and formalized structure


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Figure 4.9: Functional Differentiation and Environmental Demands

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Burns and Stalker


Also found that organizations need different kinds of structure to control their activities based on the environment

Organic structures are more effective when the environment is unstable and changing Mechanistic structures are more effective in stable environments
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Figure 4.10: Relationship Between Environmental Uncertainty and Structure

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