Structure is not only an organizational chart. It encompasses all relationships in terms of authority, goals, job descriptions, expectations, and interactions among all stakeholders, both internal and external.
The choice of the right structure is crucial for achieving success. A bad structure can waste resources, and lead to low productivity due to employee dissatisfaction. The right structure can make employees feel responsible and motivate them to collaborate toward the success of the company, through the achievement of individual and common goals. With the right structure, motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic) is more likely to be present, as well as cohesion and teamwork. The importance of teamwork is shared at all levels of the organization, with increasing levels of empowerment and delegation, so all members really feel they belong and are accountable for achieving the stated common goals.
Two issues are central to structural design: how to allocate work (differentiation) and how to coordinate diverse efforts once responsibilities have been delegated (integration). When the coordination of efforts is more hierarchical, a top-down model is followed, and it is labeled vertical coordination. If the coordination is more informal and flexible, and uses task forces and other forms of coordination on the same level, it is labeled lateral coordination.
Different models of structural configurations have been proposed in the literature, including the Five Organizational Types by Mintzberg (1980) and the Web of Inclusion by Helgesen (1995).
Mintzberg’s Five Organizational Types are as follows:
· Entrepreneurial organization
· Machine organization (bureaucracy)
· Professional organization
· Divisional (diversified) organization
· Innovative organization (“adhocracy”)
In the Web of Inclusion, Helgesen defines an approach that relies on organizational structures that are not standard hierarchies led from the top down, but instead more circular in structure and led from the center.
Mintzberg, H. (1980, March). Structure in 5’s: A synthesis of the research on organization design. Management Science, 26(3), 322—341.
Helgesen, S. (1995). The web of inclusion: A new architecture for building great organizations (1st ed.). New York, NY: Currency/Doubleday.