Barbour Brown Ltd Case Study

Topics: Organizational structure, Organization, Hierarchy Pages: 8 (2824 words) Published: May 6, 2011
Executive summary
The organizational structure of the current company was found to be a flat hierarchy with the departmentalization by function. New proposed structure is advised to be matrix with the functional and service divisions. Contingency models were used by: Joan Woodward, James David Thompson, Charles Perrow and Burns and Stalker. Models have explained the influence of the situational variables of task, technology and size on the creation of the new organizational structure.

The good organizational structure should be focused its attention on particular areas, shape how resources will be used, direct communication flows and define control of the company. Aim of this report is to illustrate the current organizational structure of the Barbour Brown Ltd described in the given case study along with the explanation of how the activities are grouped. Next section proposes the new organizational structure designed for the company after the merger with the John Colbert Civil Engineering Contractors as well with the grouping of the activities. It is followed by the description of the line, staff, functional and lateral relationships within the new structure and the authority, responsibility and delegation with the reference to the new organization.

2.Management Approach
The Barbour Brown Engineering Ltd is a formal organization as it has defined reporting structure. David has set the written procedures providing the formal support to the structure covering rules for behaviour and such areas as grievance and discipline. (LO1 p.5) The management structure used by David is bureaucracy as proposed by the German philosopher Max Weber. Weber defined his bureaucratic system by specific authority hierarchy and a formal set of rules and procedures to be followed. It complies with David’s regulations about him first receiving new projects, allocating all the work and requiring authorization from him or James for every site visit made by the employees. This type of management structure is supported by later writers Burns and Stalker who argue that external environment affects the structure. According to the researchers very stable and predictable business environment develops mechanistic structure similar to the Weber’s bureaucracies. As Barbour Brown grew steadily it is understood that the David’s mechanistic management approach was driven by the stable environment as well as his need to control and keep a check on staff. David is focused on the civil engineering as has no experience in the structural projects. He leaves this area for the control of Neil who has more flexible approach to the management. As structural design division has just been formed recently and has been developing fast since, the more organic system of the management has been adapted by Neil. It is more fluid structure more appropriate to the changing conditions of the environment. Neil discusses the projects with his team prior the acceptance and takes their advice into account while allocating the work. He gives the authority to the team leader Jack to decide how to carry out the project. There are therefore to approaches to management practice by two of the partners which cause annoyance within the employees.

3.The current organisational structure
It is hard to define a clear organizational structure within the Barbour Brown. However the elements of the flat hierarchical structure are strongly presented in the case study. The structure of a hierarchy has a number of levels of authority. The aim of this type of organizational structure is to bring together the activities of individuals, teams, groups and departments, which were previously separated by the division of labour and function. The hierarchy of the Barbour Brown is presented on the graph below:

As understood from the graph, David is a General Manager but is on equal horizontal level with Neil who deals mainly with the marketing and structural division of the...

Bibliography: Baroff, Lynn E., 2006. Project-Line Interaction: Implementing Projects in JPL’s Matrix, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
Buchanan, D. & Huczynski, A., 2004. Organizational Behaviour: An Introduction, 5th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited
Daft, Richard L., 2010. Organization Theory and Design. 10th ed. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning
Hindle, T., 2008. Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus, London: The Economist
Managing People and Organisations, DE3D34, Lecture notes.
Slack, N. Chambers, S. & Johnston, R., 2004. Operations Management, 5th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited
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