Organizational Design

Essay by mooooo December 2003

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Principles of Management--Organizational Design:

As you read in the intro to chapter 17, we are going to look at two major views of organizational design--the contingency view; which assumes that choices for the design of organizations are constrained by factors inside and outside the organization, and the configuration view; which says that several "clusters of context" (good academic jargon), design, and technical factors may combine to make a more efficient organization.

The block centered on the definition of organizational design (the way managers structure the organization to reach the organization's goals)and the use of organization chart is fairly clear. Organization charts are common in most all business organizations. They depict the formal authority and communication channels of the organization--and also give a graphic representation of the degree and type of specialization the organization utilizes. Your author is correct in stating that the communication and authority relationships are incompletely depicted.

The informal networks within the organization are rarely depicted (if they are known at all!)

The background concepts you have seen before. Remember Appendix A? I am still amazed at how the work of Henri Fayol has persisted. We still use much of the terminology he coined. Some distinction is made about the differences between line and staff personnel. The concept of line vs. staff authority is not really addressed. Line authority is clear positional authority to make decisions relating to the work of the firm. Classically this means the manager on the line producing the product. Line authority is real, legitimate authority--within the legitimate realm of the manager. Staff authority is advisory--staff experts make recommendations that line managers may use or not. Causes some frustration for staff people.

The Contingency View of Organizational Design

Made up of the analysis of four factors that will will affect the organization--strategy,