MBA501 – Human Interfaces
Instructor: Dr. Eli Sopow
Submission date: October 2, 2010
Organizational Structures and Systems
This paper will examine organizational structures, organizational systems and how organizational culture influences both structure and systems. Throughout this paper, there will an analogy to the human body to help further the understanding of the concepts of structure and systems in an organization. This analogy is based on the academic work of Goold and Campbell (Goold & Campbell, 2002). The first part of this paper will review different organizational structures. The second part will look at various organizational systems and how they may be used for the benefit of the business and the employees. The conclusion and analysis will bring together the analogous components and relate them to an organization. Furthermore, the analysis will explore how a successful organization’s culture, structure, and systems evolved as a result of changing business requirements. Finally, the conclusion will offer some suggestions on how to maintain a health culture, system and structure.
Organizational structure is a “formal configuration between individuals and groups with respect to the allocation of tasks, responsibilities, and authority within organizations” (Greenberg & Baron, 2009). Many original principles for structuring an organization come from the theories of Henri Fayol, Max Weber and Fredrick Taylor. The structure of any organization is influenced by whether the organizational will be hierarchy, centralized/decentralized, tall, flat, span of control, or departmentalized. The actual rigidity within the structure comes in the form of “line, line-and-staff, matrix, or cross-functional self-managed teams” (Nickels, McHugh, McHugh, Cossa, 2007, p. #269-276). One can use the analogy of the “basic human skeleton” within the human body as one way to think about organizational structure
As this course is about human interfaces, the organizational systems discussed in this paper relate specifically to human interaction. Organizational systems, specifically, the “6-system network” (Sopow, 2007) are designed as a framework for employees to interact with fellow employees within an organization. Sopow identifies the key systems as accountability, authority, responsibility, communication, coordination and collaboration (Sopow, 2007). The six systems are designed to work together as one homogenous unit – each supporting the other – in a web-like fashion. Although these systems are seen to be acting together, there is a more natural affinity between the systems accountability, authority and responsibility as there is a more natural affinity between the systems communication, coordination and collaboration. These “systems process allows ideas and innovation to grow organically rather than top-down for local solutions to be discovered through local dialogue” (Sopow, 2007). In the analogy of the human body, organizational systems could be considered the “connective tissue represent(ing) key linkages through which the units relate to one another” (Goold & Campbell, 2002).
Conclusion and Analysis
Corporate culture, although “difficult to define it abstractly” (Schein, 2007 p. #12) creates behavior, unity and stability towards a common goals, and a unique identity. Then the real function of organizational structure and organizational systems is to create the framework by which those behaviors and assumptions can exist in an organization. To complete the analogy between the human body and an organization, one should consider that culture and the employees as the “circulatory system” (Goold and Campbell, 2002). When the elements of the skeleton, connectivity tissue and the circulatory system come together, life is effectively created. In terms of an...