Challenges in Achieving Integration in Organization

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Subject: Discuss the main problems an organisation can encounter in achieving integration. Are there successful alternatives to integration? Use examples from your own company or one you know well.

I see the term organization is another word of integration, which means integration is most important criteria of an organization. Integrate means “to bring people together harmoniously into a single community”(Oxford, 2007. p357). Various Management gurus have realized and expressed the importance of integration in an organization in different ways as this is most challenging culture in an organization. Like according to Lawrence and Lorch [23, p.1], integration is defined as “the quality or state of collaborations that exists among departments that are required to achieve unity of effort by the demands of the environment”.

J. Child (pg 79, reference 1) describes as “Integration signifies coordination, cohesion and synergy between different roles or units in an organization whose activities are different but interdependent in the process of creating value”.

Recent studies in the context of the supply chain management, however, have proposed a broader concept of integration that includes not only integration of buyers, but also integration of suppliers in the chain (ref. 3). Integration is the collaboration and linkages between and across organizational functions as well as organizational partners, including customers and suppliers. Internal integration refers to the cross-functional team orientation reflecting the linkages within organizational functions and teams, also known as horizontal linkages.

Problems in achieving Integration in Organization

Lack of integration is one of the charges most frequently leveled against organizations. As J. Child had mentioned in page 81 “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing”, is an often-heard complaint of clients and customers. It is relatively easy to state the need for adequate integration, but it is not easy to achieve it. The type of challenges in achieving integration can be mainly classified in two ways,1. Functional and 2.Operational,

Functional Integration:
Integration between functions is common challenges in the relationship between different functions or specialties within a company. It presents most noticeably in the relations between functions that have continuously to adapt to the external environment, such as sales, customer relations, and purchasing, and those that are responsible for producing goods or services according to relatively fixed parameters establishing within the company, such as equipment or design capabilities. J. Child had given an example of a problem concerning integration sales and production in his page 82, due to continuous conflict between sales team and purchase department Company had to open another cell called Sales Liaison Department (SOLD) between sales and production for regulating exact product specification asked by sales dept. pricing control, and easy flow of information between both sale and production team for ultimate success of Company.

Operational Integration:
The challenge in Operational Integration is making available to production a range of necessary support services on a continuous and reliable basis. These services are in nature technological (such as industrial engineering, production engineering, and quality control), financial (budgetary control, costing and management control information), personnel (such as recruitment and training), and planning (production control). In a large and complex multiproduct, multi-line facility, the integration of these services to production management is very important for success of organization.

Other types of problems of integration in organization are ( J. Child, page 84):

The coordination between head office and divisions in a multidivisional company: This is extremely challenging for proper coordination between head office and its divisions or...
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