In this installment of our guide to organizational management we look at management structure...
The process of planning, organizing, and controlling human and other resources in order to meet an organizations goals, is known as management.
Typically, a company will be set up to include different types of managers, which can include managers with responsibility for a specific department or division of the entity, as well as regional managers who supervise activities in a particular geographic region. The types of management positions will vary in accordance with the size of the business.
Management structure (also known as organizational structure) is the method by which staff, departments, divisions and regions work and interact with one another. There are two main types of such structures, known as flat and hierarchal.
Whats known as a flat management structure promotes a decentralized decision-making process, which increases staff involvement and is achieved by very few or no management layers between front-line workers and the company's leadership.
By elevating the level of responsibility of baseline employees, and by eliminating layers of middle management, comments and feedback reach all personnel involved in decisions more quickly. Since the interaction between workers is more frequent, this management structure generally depends upon a much more personal relationship between workers and managers.
The hierarchal management structure has a set chain-of-command - that is each unit in the organization (except that at the very top) is subordinate to another unit or division. That means that each individual communicates directly with an immediate supervisor or subordinate and does not jump over layers of management to get to the top leader.
The benefit of a hierarchal structure is also its primary limitation in that it will reduce the level of communication that goes directly to the top. The hierarchal configuration, however, is the most prevalent for large corporations, governments, and even organized religions.
Flat management structures will typically only work well in smaller companies, or within smaller defined units of a large organization. Once an entity reaches a certain size, this type of structure will not work as well and could end up having a negative impact on productivity. An organizations complexity can be related to its size and how widely distributed it is geographically, and it is this complexity that governs which management structure is most beneficial to the company.