Organizational Structure Assignment #2 Josephine Nyiri AMP370 – Systems Concepts Grand Canyon University Vernon T. Cox, H, MBA September 13, 2009 Abstract The purpose of this essay is to present the concept of structure, explaining the roles and relationships of organizational culture, and to illustrate how that structure can direct the behavior of teams (organizational learning). There are several interpretations of the concept of structure.
This definition of, structure: • refers to enduring relations between individuals, groups, and larger units, including role assignments (job descriptions—authority, responsibility, and privileges attached to positions); grouping of positions in divisions, departments, and other units; standard operating procedures; established administrative arrangements for handling key processes, such as coordination (e. g. , committees and weekly meetings); control, human resources management, rewards, and planning; job designs; and physical arrangements.
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Emergent structural patterns (e. g. , informal cliques, coalitions, and power distribution) can differ substantially from officially mandated ones. ” (Harrison, Diagnosing Organizations, Third Edition, Vol. 8, 2005) Senge’s (1990) position is that the structures within organizations influence the behavior of its members: “Different people in the same structure tend to produce qualitatively similar results” (p. 40) Every organization consists of individuals with various needs, experiences and values, resulting in different and sometimes conflicting behavior.
Effectiveness is achieved when employees enact behaviors in a consistent manner to achieve a goal of the organization. Uncertainty exists when a gap exists between the amount of information processed and that which is required to perform the task (Galbraith, 1977) Organizational structures utilize feedback, which “is a reciprocal flow of influence,” …an axiom that every influence is both cause and effect. ” (Senge 2006 p. 74-75), Feedback can provide recommendations, either general or specific, to facilitate the decision making process. Effective use of feedback diminishes this gap.
In the medical insurance company that I worked for, the organizational structure definitely affected the behavior of the teams. The company at this time was experiencing disciplinary issues. Staff members were abusing the time off policy, resulting in excessive absenteeism. Lack of production quickly followed, not only because an individual was not present, but the rest of the team was unable or unwilling to take on the responsibilities of the missing person.. This is an example of cause and effect. Managers were expected to notify Human resources with any attendance issues.
However, this removed the manager from the loop. They analyzed the situation, for the immediate cause, and although the attendance issue resolved temporarily, it resurfaced several of months later. The missing link in the chain was the unit management team, who could have interfaced directly with their teams, reinforcing the shared goals of the department. Eventually, the company did develop a specialized team to analyze and track the attendance issue, which was in part culturally based. That team then communicated directly with the unit managers, who did in turn, met with the staff both as a group, and individually.
It appears that structure, culture, behavior and learning are all deeply dependent upon each other. It is necessary for management to understand not only the crisis issues that dramatically erupts, but in order to achieve long term success, they should be especially aware of the vestigial causes which affect organizational behaviors. References Gailbraith,J. (1977), Organization design. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Harrison, Michael I. , (2005), Diagnosing Organizations, Third Edition, Vol. 8 USA: Sage Senge, Peter M. , (2006) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization USA: Doubleday