Departmentation: Management and Example

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Departmentation (Grouping)
-One reason organizations exist is to do things that would be hard for one person to do by themselves. For example, it's hard to conceive of one person building an office building. Instead, we have organizations of thousands of people with diverse skills that work together to build buildings. However, coordinating, controlling and just keeping track of a lot of individuals introduces its own problems. One way to solve these problems is to create a hierarchical system of supervision, so that small groups of workers (up to say, 50 people) are supervised by coordinators (managers). Depending on how many people there are in the organization, the coordinators themselves need to be organized into groups supervised by higher level managers, and so on. Part and parcel of this hierarchical supervisory system is the cutting up of the organization into groups (departments). The question arises: On what basis should we carve up the members of the organization into subunits? What would happen if we did it randomly, without regard for tasks? One problem would be that each manager would have to be aware of what needed to be done in every area of the organization, in order to direct his/her workers. This would be impossible in most cases.

Common Bases for Departmentation
What organizations actually do is group people in a way that relates to the task they perform. This still leaves a lot of possibilities. Here are six common bases for departmentation: 1.Knowledge and Skill. People are grouped by what they know. For example, hospitals have departments like Neurology, Allergy, Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Gastro-Enterology, etc. 2.Work Process. Workers are grouped based on the process or activity used by the worker. For example, a manufacturing company may create separate casting, welding and machining groups. Often, it is the underlying technology that determines the departmentation. For example, a print shop may have separate letterpress...
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