“Organizational structure is the pattern of relationships among positions in the organization and among members of the organization. Structure makes the application of the processes of management possible and creates a framework of order and command through which the activities of the organization can be planned, organized, directed and controlled. The structure defines tasks and responsibilities, work roles and relationships and channels of communication.” (Mullins (2005. p 596.)
A success of an organization is based on the internal operational structure. It helps determine the chain of command and reporting relationship (which can be horizontal or vertical). The different types of structures are: Functional, product-based, geographic based, and the matrix organization structure.
In a functional structure, teams are created based on corporate functions in a bottom-up manner.
The different divisions (creative, accounts, etc.) are coordinated and the decision making process is centralized by the top level management. Functional managements are less product-based and more technical; the managers are skilled in their functional division and weak in areas such as, future product-business plans. The advantage of this structure is it maximizes the functional performance of each division separately and cultivates specialists within each division. From a personal experience, dealing with functional structure management is organized since each individual is assigned to a specific task, e.g. if I had any salary issues I would approach the payroll manager in the Human Resource department.
Unlike functional-based structure, a product- based structure is employed in an organization that has several product lines.
The teams are organized in a set of divisions, where each division is self-contained and corresponds to the end product or service provided by the organization. Unlike functional, the division structure is mainly decentralized because the management is more skilled on product and lesser on core technical abilities. For instance Emaar Properties (my previous employer), has many products like Emaar Properties, Healthcare, Malls and etc. Since each division is operated solely focusing on a specific product/service, the overall operation proved a great success. From personal experience, I did not favor the product-based structure because of its long chain of command, I used to get affected by actions and orders from managers and directors that are by no means linked to me personally; and that made me feel devalued and unappreciated.
Cultural norms influence the decision making process, style of management and how everyone classifies success in the organisation. Each culture stems from different assumptions about: the basis of power and influence, what motivates people, how people think, and how change should occur. According to Kotter and Heskett (1992), “organizations with adaptive cultures perform much better than organizations with unadaptive cultures. An adaptive culture translates into organizational success.” There are four main types of organizational cultures that are mainly referred to: power, role, task and person culture.
Within a power culture, decisions are centralized around one key personnel and that key member uses their authority to run the organization. Power culture is mainly found in small/ medium sized organizations where leaders have direct communications with all employees. Good employee relations are needed in order for this type of cultures to be successful. Since there is no group work in power structured cultures, the organization can respond to dangers promptly as no consultation is involved. ContinentAd, a formal company I worked for, adapted this culture within the company. The company consisted of 30 employees that were directly controlled by the owner. During my employment in the company, I found such a culture flexible since I had to report directly to the owner which made me feel valuable. But from a personal experience the disadvantages were that (1) it was not flexible to quickly adapt to changes. (2) Lack of consultation led employees to feel de-motivated because they had no say in the operational matters which lead to a high staff turnover. Overall, having one leading power made rules and regulations understandable and unbreakable, and since the owner was controlling his values and beliefs were important to all employees since he knew the road for the company’s success.
Unlike a power-cultured organization, the task culture organization joins the right resources and employees to complete a particular task. This type of culture is mainly reflected in a matrix structure because its task oriented. It depends on labor and specialization; employees are empowered to make decisions within their team, which makes them feel valued because they hold responsibility of bringing the project to a successful end which will reflect their efforts. From personal experience, in a promotional job the main disadvantage in a task culture is jealousy and competition between team members. Every member is keen about being noticed and recognized by the managers, which created a conflict of interest that was obvious in members’ performance and the overall end result. Whether it’s a power culture or task culture, it is important that the management constantly develops the culture to suit the organizations’ operation by developing norms and regulations.
One of the main factors of containing a successful business is the internal culture and structure employed and adapted within the workplace. There is an existing alignment between the firm and its members which helps corroborate a consistent behavior due to a solid culture and structure in an organization. If the proper structure is set determining the hierarchy and bureaucracy of all employees allying a culture that supports this structure, motivation and performance would increase between staff members. This is because organized employees would know their duty and whom to report to.
Emaar Properties has a corporate ‘product-based’ structure and my department imposed a ‘person culture’. It was an unsuccessful alignment because I was never motivated to achieve more since the decision making process is decentralized and getting promoted isn’t expected. I was also lost with the chain of command, I did not know whether to obey my direct manager or satisfy others who are constantly intervening with our daily operations. Since the corporate structure of Emaar is ‘product-based’ and each product/department is a team on its own, a ‘task culture’ would best fit them. Since we were a service department all employees should be supervised and monitored since there isn’t a technical task to deliver. The culture that will best fit our department is a ‘role culture;’ it is the most effective way to manage a huge department. To keep us organized, our manager should have direct command and any individuals concerned with our department should discuss it with our manager rather then us. Having the power set according to a hierarchy role means each employee would consistently perform to get promoted up the line. And having organized motivated employees means an overall achievement of the department’s objectives and a success to the overall business.
In summary, culture should be intentional shaped to suit the organizational structure employed by the management because they’re both connected. An unorganized leverage between the structure and the culture would reason employees to feel undervalued and complicated. Having an unorganized weak labor force influences the business to not achieve objectives and reach definite loss. Adopting the best fit structure and culture affects the internal performance which would influence the overall success for the organization.
According to John Ivancevich and Michael Mattson, “the major factors that influence individual differences in behavioral patterns are demographic factors, abilities and skills, perception, attitudes and personality. ”
Personality is influenced by many factors including: Experience, family, society, situation, culture and religion. A combination of particular traits that are different between individuals, they are signified by: carefulness, determination to pursue goals in life, level of assertiveness, reaction to stress and pressure, agreeableness, outlook towards others, and natural reactions. These factors determine what kind of personality an individual possesses and that is reflected in his/her work behavior. For example, someone who is active, motivated by his goals and open to experience can be described as an extrovert, and an extrovert cannot be a call center agent or do a routine job. Understanding employees by studying their personality traits through observation, training, and exposure is important to allocate employees accordingly because that will determine their work behavior and accomplishment.
Another important factor that influences the individuals’ behavior at work is the ability and skill. The ability and skills can be defined as the physical or mental capacity of an individual to perform the job in the most efficient and effective way. The manager should match the employee’s ability and skill with the job requirement in order to achieve the task given. If an employee isn’t equipped with the proper skills or ability, then his behavior or attitude would be negative.
Attitude is the inclination to agree or disagree to certain situations, jobs, management and etc. This psychological empowerment is affected by many factors such as culture, family, peers and work issues. Managers need to study the variables related to job as to create the work environment in a favorable way that employees are tempted to form a positive attitude.
The final factor that helps influence the individual behavior at work is the perception. According to Mullins (2005 p.1060) “the dynamic and complex way in which individuals select information (stimuli) from the environment, interpret and translate it so that a meaning is assigned which will result in a pattern of behavior or thought. This cognitive process differs from one individual to the other because people have different views and perceive things differently.” It is important that managers have clear communication means so that all employees perceive the task appropriately. For example, if a director asked a team of engineers to perform a quality check after finalizing project X, a specific engineer might perceive this command in a negative way being that the director does not trust his work and that translation would be reflected in his work behavior.
In conclusion, I recommend department managers to intensely study the individual’s personality, perception, attitude and skills; because the behavior of each individual is formed from many factors and aspects. There are many ways to closely study the individual behavior; it could be done by observation, training, and behavior tests.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car exercises different leadership styles to achieve goals. Enterprise managers inspire employees to take the initiative in making the right decisions while assuring that no major rules are broken and that all the employees are on the same path to achieve a high level of customer service. One of the leadership styles applied in Enterprise is the “Laissez-faire” which according to THE BROWN BOOK is “the leader that has little direct input; leaves subordinates to make decisions.” Within Enterprise, employees have the freedom to make immediate decisions independently without referring to the management but within broad limits; that leadership style proved to be affective since the organisation constantly achieves objectives.
In Emaar Properties (previous employer), my manager empowered an autocratic leadership style. The leadership traits of an autocratic leader is one who makes decisions on his own and communicates with staff in a form of orders, staff are told the decision and they carry on the tasks. Emaar’s organisational culture can be described as a ‘power culture’. The management was dealing with us in such a way that made me feel like a working machine with no say in the operations, and that was a de-motivation. An autocratic leader can be described as an achiever manager because the task was getting done in the highest quality.
In periods of change, a Laissez-faire leadership would be more stable than an autocratic leadership. The leadership trait that best explain the manager that employs the Lassez-faire theory is a magician and transformational leader because the manager-employee relationship is open and strong which makes them a team. Each employee has a unique style and skill that cannot be replaced, and every employee would constantly achieve to foster the trust and keep the loyal connection between both sides. Both the management and employees would work hard together to overcome periods of change since thriving and achieving is the motivation here.
In Emaar, employees are trained and programmed to do certain jobs that do not require much skills, which means employees can be easily replaced with others that do the same task, e.g.: Emaar released 300 employees (including me) by the end of 2010 for financial reasons and in the first quarter of 2011 the company employed over 150 employees. There is no employee-management relationship and in times of change this can cause de-motivation for employees because of no job security. A democratic leadership style would best fit Emaar, a manager that is an opportunist, a magician and at the same time a diplomat. I know mistakes in detailed organizations might lead to a disasters but I am also sure some opinions given by my colleagues were very considerable. The organizational theory exercised in Emaar is a ‘product-based structure’ and ‘power culture’ which supports managers becoming autocratic and communicate with their team in a form of orders.
In summary, during periods of change, employees need a magician, a diplomat and a transformational leader to manage the team to overcome any obstacles. Such a leader depends on his loyal relationship and trust with his employees to overcome obstacles.
Managing and leading a team is a hard task but determines the success of the organization. I metaphorically compared a successful organization to a Formula 1 car; the wheels that move the vehicle forward are the employees, the steering wheel that formulate the transformation of the employees/wheels is trust and loyalty, the petrol poured inside the engine is motivation, the strength of the vehicle depends totally on the internal structure exactly like organizations, and the driver is the manager that drives the team/firm towards success in the modern race.
Managers in different organizations have different theories to relate to. In Emaar, managers exercised the scientific management theory in operation. The scientific management theory or Taylorism (Fredrick Winslow Taylor 1856-1917) is “matching people to the task and supervising, rewarding and punishing them according to their performance. The job of management was to plan and control the work.” (Crainer 1996). The organizational theory adopted in Emaar underpins the Taylorism management practice employed in our department because: (1) the top management /board members practice a ‘systems approach’ which means they are not involved with the daily operation, the final output is their concern. (2) The structure of the company is product based and the product/service is the main objective of each department. (3) Our department’s culture is the ‘power culture’. The structure, culture and management pressure supports a Taylorism management style only
I am against Taylorism because, when an organization hires an employee, they place many job requirements and shortlist candidates to choose the right one. Putting all these candidates together and imposing a scientific management theory on them means deploying their inner potential that might be beneficial to the company. I suggest multinational organizations like Emaar should impose the human-relations approach to build an employee-management relationship or a contingency approach; sticking to one forceful style has one outcome which is degraded employees that will find the first opportunity to leave. Having a connection between the management and its employees would create a strong bond; motivated employees could come up with creative suggestions that might benefit the organization.
The contingency approach can be altered by the management to fit the business environment, conditions faced by the organization, operational hazards, objectives, and the structure of the task. Hamptons Real Estate (a previous employer), implemented the contingency approach. Every department manager had a different approach according to the objectives set for his/her department. E.g. the sales manager emphasized on employee relationship because sales needs positive employees, the finance manager emphasized on task because documents were piling and the task needs to be accomplished. This showed a great success in the form of: tasks being accomplished, people always motivated and pleased with their managers, and a positive environment.