ECE _ DSST Organizational Behavior

Another example of departmentalization is dividing a

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Another example of departmentalization is dividing a company into the marketing, customer support, and sales departments. The chain of command is an unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of the organization to the lowest echelon and clarifies who reports to whom. Twenty years ago, the chain-of-command concept was a basic cornerstone in the design of organizations, but it has far less importance today. The concepts of chain of command, authority, and unity of command have substantially less relevance today because of advancements in computer technology and the trend toward empowering employees. The Unity of command principle helps preserve the concept of an unbroken line of authority . This principle states that a person should have one and only one superior to whom he or she is directly responsible. If the unity of command is broken, a subordinate might have to cope with conflicting demands or priorities from several superiors. The Span of control determines the number of subordinates a manager can efficiently and effectively direct. The wider or larger the span, the more efficient the organization. Wider spans are more efficient in terms of cost. However, at some point wider spans reduce effectiveness. That is, when the span becomes too large, employee performance suffers because supervisors no longer have the time to provide the necessary leadership and support. While keeping the span of control to five or six employees, a manager can maintain close control. But small spans have drawbacks such as it encourages overly tight supervision and discourages employee autonomy. Wide spans of control are consistent with recent efforts by companies to reduce costs, cut overhead, speed up decision making, increase flexibility, get closer to customers, and empower employees. Centralization refers to the degree to which decision making is concentrated at a single point in the organization. This concept includes only formal authority, that is, the rights inherent in one’s position. Typically, it’s said that if top management makes the organization’s key decisions with little or no input from lower level personnel, then the organization is centralized. In other words, how spread out is authority in the organization? The more centralized it is, the less spread out authority is. The more that lower-level personnel provide input or are actually given the discretion to make decisions, the more decentralization there is. In a decentralized organization, action can be taken more quickly to solve problems, more people provide input into decisions, and employees are less likely alienated from those who make decisions that affect their work lives. Consistent with recent management efforts to make organizations more flexible and responsive, there has been a marked trend toward decentralizing decision making.
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