Organization Design (Student`s name)
September 8, 2013
Challenges Facing Organizational Designers
Organization design is an important element in ensuring the success of an organization. Basically, it entails a formal guided procedure for integrating information and technology with the people of an organization. It is aimed at matching the form of organization to objectives the organization is interested in achieving. Designers of organizations are faced by four major challenges as stipulated by Jones (2006). They include
Differentiation: this is the first challenges that face designers of organizations. It is the process through which an organization assigns human and material resources to tasks of the organization and creates the task and authority relations that enable the organization to achieve its goals.
Balancing differentiation and integration: getting people to communicate and harmonize in an organization is difficult. Specifying roles and tasks is expected to help in coordinating the work process, but unfortunately it presents barriers between people and functions. In horizontal differentiation, people are expected to be more specialized hence highly productive. Instead companies have often found that specialization confines communication between subunits preventing them from learning from each other. This also forms a subunit orientation, which is the likelihood to perceive the role of a person in an organization strictly from the perspective of the goals, time frame, and interpersonal orientations of one`s subunit (Daft, 2010). However horizontal orientation has been successful although it hinders cross functional learning and coordination. Integration entails coordinating different tasks, functions and division in order for them to work harmoniously and not at cross purposes designers fail to use the right processes.
Balancing centralization and decentralization the third challenge facing designers of organizations is the balancing of centralization and decentralization. Existence of bureaucracy at times causes to a reduction in responsibility and risk taking which affects decision making and leads to inflexibility. The issue of centralization and decentralization arises when it comes to how much power is to be delegated to each level.
Balancing standardization and mutual adjustment this is another challenge that faces designers of organizations. The challenge comes in finding the right balance between the rules and standard communication (standardization) and mutual adjustment. In addition, some actions are conventional and primary goals are attainable while innovativeness and creativity is unlimited.
Addressing the Challenges Harmoniously
The objective to create an effectively designed organization is the principle role of a sound organization design. As such, these issues have to be addressed amicably to ensure that the organization design is effective and achieves the purpose of the organization. Addressing these challenges is not easy though, designers need to understand the organization`s strategies as well as structure in order to establish which design is suitable for the organization (Daft, 2010). This is usually the first step in ensuring that the challenges that usually face designers are avoided. Designers of organization must have the will and the determination to design organization in a manner that addresses these challenges at all costs. Failure to address any of the established challenges presents likelihood to failure of the organization. At times, some challenges may not be addressed depending on the form of the organization structure. However, designers are responsible for enhancing coordination between the organization design and the organization`s short term and long term goals.
Relationship between the Four Challenges Facing Organization Designers
The four challenges facing organizational designers are obviously interrelated. The relation between the four challenges is complex yet a comprehendible. Looking at the first challenge which entails differentiation, it is the basic issue that designers face. Knowing how to allocate human and material resource their roles in the organization is a challenge. In addition, this particular challenge leads to the second challenge of balancing differentiation and integration (Jones, 2006). After differentiation, designers often have to deal with how workers` roles are integrated with the organization`s goals. Differentiation may bring about a disconnection in the intent of the organization.
The issue of balancing differentiation and integration results to designers thinking of whether to decentralize or centralize authority in order to deal with the previous challenge. In addressing the second challenge vertical structures brings about a gap in communication, while vertical structures permit communication, but in the end confine communication to subunits hence encouraging subunit orientation.
Consequently the third challenge is connected to the fourth challenge balancing between standardization and mutual adjustment. The rules that have to be set in achieving a balanced centralized and decentralized authority within an organization become a challenge. In addition, mutual adjustments must exist in addressing previous imbalance (Daft, 2010). Therefore, these four challenges are hierarchical and are interconnected to each other. This is also the reason why there is need to address all the four challenges in achieving a comprehensive organizational design.
Mechanistic vs. Organic Structures
In a mechanistic organization structure, a manager may face design choices such as individual specialization, where individuals are trained and allocated specific tasks in the organization to enhance productivity (Jones, 2006). In addition, hierarchy or centralized authority is mainly dominant in this type of structure. Authority trickles from the top to others hence responsibility is centered to the top management. Communication is vertical in this form of structure. As a result, the manager will have high standardization.
If the desired form of structure was organic, these design choices would definitely differ. In an organic structure, there is usually joint specialization, where roles of individuals are loosely defined (Jones, 2006). The integrating mechanisms are also complex in this form of structure. Consequently, decentralization of power is evident, where people are flexible in decision making, and responsibilities are spread to various people within the organization. Communication is horizontal while mutual adjustments are allowed in this structure.
The notion of contingency approach to organization design is based on the fact that, the structure of an organization should be designed in a manner that takes into account and plans for the contingencies (things that may emerge and influence the organization). For example contingencies that may face an organization such as technology, the environment it operates in, the type of people it employs and the form of tasks it performs. The theory of contingency states that, for an organization to be able to effectively manage its environment, its structure should be designed to fit with the environments in which it operates (Jones, 2006).
Importance of the Assignment
This assignment is important in that it helps a student understand the difference and the relationship between organization structure and organization design. The understanding of organization design imparts important knowledge regarding how to create an effective organizational design, the possible challenges and the significance of simultaneously addressing them to achieve optimal results. Finally the contingency theory in organizational structure explains how an effective design can be achieved.
Daft, R. (2010). Organization theory and design. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Jones, G. (2006). Organizational theory, design, and change. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall.