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CHAPTER THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE CHAPTER OVERVIEW This chapter introduces basic concepts of organization structure. Structure is defined, and the students focus on how structure can help organizations achieve their goals. An information processing perspective on structure explains how organizational linkages can provide needed information capacity. Strategies for grouping organizational activities into functional, divisional, matrix, horizontal, or hybrid structures are shown. Symptoms of misalignment are discussed. Organization Structure Structure includes three key components pertaining to both vertical and horizontal aspects of organizing: designation of formal reporting relationships including number of levels in the hierarchy and span of control of managers and supervisors; grouping of individuals into departments and of departments into the total organization; design of systems to ensure effective communication, coordination, and integration across departments. The organization chart is the visual representation of underlying activities and processes. Diagrams outlining church hierarchy can be found as far back as medieval churches in Spain. Through most of the 20 th century, the hierarchical, functional structure predominated. But in recent years, organizations have developed other structural designs, often aimed at increasing horizontal communication. Information-Processing Perspective on Structure The structure must fit information requirements of the organization so people have neither too little information nor too much irrelevant information. Vertical linkages are designed primarily for control, in contrast to horizontal linkages that are designed for coordination and collaboration; all organizations need a mix. Emphasis of Vertical and Horizontal Linkages Vertical linkages - emphasis on efficiency and control Specialized tasks, hierarchy of authority, rules and regulations, formal reporting systems, few teams or task forces, centralized decision making Horizontal linkages - emphasis on learning Shared tasks, relaxed hierarchy and few rules, face-to-face communication, many teams and task forces, informal / decentralized decision making The author argues that organizations are on the cusp of a fundamental and tremendous change. He hypothesizes that rigid and highly centralized vertical hierarchies will essentially be a thing of the past, giving way to flexible decentralized forms of organization based on horizontal work processes. Vertical Information Linkages 1
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Hierarchical referral This vertical device is illustrated by the vertical lines. The lines of the organization chart act both up and down the chain as the communication channel. Rules and plans
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  • Spring '11
  • allanmarshal
  • HORIZONTAL information linkages, Horizontal Linkages, Geographical Designs Functional Structure Functional, Horizontal Linkages Vertical

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