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tasks and the authority to do the tasks. Eight kinds of relationships can be captured in an organization chart: 1. The division/specialization of labor 2. Relative authority 3. Departmentation 4. Span of control 5. The levels of management 6. Coordination centers 7. Formal communication channels 8. Decision responsibility Organization charts have important weaknesses that should be of concern to managers developing and using them: 1. They may imply a formality that doesn't exist. 2. They may be inconsistent with reality. 3. Their usual top down perspective often minimizes the role of customers, front-line managers and employees without management responsibilities. 4. They fail to capture the informal structure and informal communication. 5. They often imply that a pyramidal structure is the best or only way to organize. 6. They fail to address the potential power and authority of staff positions compared with line positions. The typical organization structure results in many of the problems with which we are asked todeal, such as:Conflict between departments (e.g., the perennial one between Sales and Operations) Long lead times in developing new products and services Quality problems, billing inaccuracies, etc.
Inefficiencies (which are usually blamed on individuals) Not being able to keep up with customer demands Low employee morale (often related to staff not being empowered to make decisions) Departmental goals and performance measures not being cascaded down through the entire organization (goals stop at the top of the hierarchy without a real appreciation ofhow "it all fits together") Henry Mintzberg and Ludo Van der Heyden describe an alternative approach to traditional organization charts approach that is refreshing. See "Organigraphs: Drawing How Companies Really Work" in the Harvard Business Review, September/October, 1999.