Organisational Structures And Vertical Information Linkages Management Essay

Organization structure designates formal reporting relationships, including the number of levels in the hierarchy and the span of control of managers and supervisors.

Organization structure identifies the grouping together of individuals into departments and of departments into the total organization.

Organization structure includes the design of systems to ensure effective communication, coordination and integration of effort across departments.

The organization must be designed to encourage information flow in both vertical and horizontal directions necessary to achieve the organization’s overall task.

Vertical Information Linkages

Organization design should facilitate the communication among employees and departments that is necessary to accomplish the organizations overall task. Linkage is defined as the extent of communication and coordination among organizational elements. Vertical linkages are used to coordinate activities between the top and bottom of an organization. Employees at lower level should carry out activities consistent with top-level goals, and top executives must be informed of activities and accomplishments at the lower levels. Organizations may use any of a variety of structural devices to achieve vertical linkage, including hierarchical referral, rules and procedures, plans and schedules, positions or levels added to the hierarchy, and formal management information systems.

Horizontal Information linkages

Horizontal communication overcomes barriers between departments and provides opportunities for coordination among employees to achieve unity of effort and organizational objectives. Horizontal linkage refers to the amount of communication and coordination horizontally across organizational departments. The need for horizontal coordination increases as the amount of uncertainty increase, such as when the environment is changing, the technology is no routine and interdependent and goals stress innovation and flexibility. Horizontal linkage mechanisms often are not drawn on the organization chart, but nevertheless are part of organization structure. The structural alternatives that can improve horizontal coordination and information flow. It enables people to exchange information.

An important aspect of organizational structure is the way in which the parts of an organizational communicate and coordinate with one another and with other organizations. As we discussed vertical linkages coordinate activities between top and bottom of the organization, while horizontal linkages are used to coordinate activities across departments. Advances in information Technology can reduce the need for middle managers and administrative support staff, resulting in leaner organizations, such as Microsoft and Anderson consulting, front line employees communicate directly with top managers through email. Information Technology can also provide stronger linkages across departments and plays a significant role in the shift to horizontal forms of organizing coordination no longer depends on physical proximity; teams of workers from various functions can communicate and collaborate electronically.

Organizational structure design has three basic approaches:

1. Functional Structure

In a functional structure, activities are grouped together by common function from the bottom to the top of the organization.

Allows economies of scale within functional departments.

Enables in-depth skill development.

Enables organization to accomplish functional goals.

Is best in small to medium-sized organizations.

Is best with only one or a few products.

2. Divisional Structure

The term divisional structure is used here as the generic term for what is sometimes called a product structure or strategic business units.

Suited to fast change in unstable environment.

Leads to client satisfaction because product responsibility and contact points are clear.

Involves high coordination across functions.

Allows units to adapt to differences in products, regions, clients.

Decentralizes decision making.

3. Matrix structure

Another way to achieve focus on multiple outcomes is with the matrix structure. The matrix can be used when one sector of the environment requires technological expertise.

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Achieves coordination necessary to meet dual demands from environment

Flexible sharing of human resources across products.

Suited to complex decisions and frequent changes in unstable environment.

Provides opportunity for functional and product skill development.

Best in medium-sized organizations with multiple products.

(Reference book: “Organizational theory and design” Richard L.Daft, Vanderbilt university, south western college publishing)


Culture is the set of principles, guiding ideas, understandings, and methods of thinking which is shared by members of an organization and is trained to new members as perfect. Culture represents the oral feeling part of the organization. Everyone participates in culture generally goes unobserved. It is only when organizations try to implement new approach or program that go in opposition to basic culture norms and morals that they come face to face with the power of culture.

Organizational culture can survive at two levels,

Visible articrafts: the ways people costume and work and the symbols, stories, and ceremonies organization members share. The noticeable elements of culture will reflect deeper values in the minds of organization members.

Observable behaviors: These fundamental values, assumptions, attitude, and attention processes are accurate culture. The attributes of culture display themselves in many ways but typically develop into a patterned set of activities carried out through social communications. These outlines can be used to understand culture.

Internal integration means that members develop group individuality and recognize how to work together effectively. Cultures lead day to day working relationships and determine how people communicate inside the organization, what behavior is suitable or inappropriate, and how power and position is allocated. External adaptation refers to how the organizations gather goals and deals with outsiders. Culture helps guide the daily behavior of workers to meet certain goals. It can assist the organization respond quickly to customer needs or the progress of a pretender.

Cultures serve two serious functions in organizations

1. To mix members so that they know how to communicate to one another, and

2. To assist the organization adapt to the outside environment.

(Reference book: “Organizational theory and design” Richard L.Daft, Vanderbilt university, south western college publishing)

Organizational Culture is defined as action or reaction (behavior) of organization. Culture incorporated with assumptions, principles, norms, artifacts members in organization and their performance. Actually the term team culture is not distinctly explained in every culture but they can sense when they experience it and the important aspect is how technology, culture associate with each other. All technologies doesn’t correspond or fit in every culture so first we have to select and organize the culture and then make changes in technologies to fit better in organization. Culture is important when we are going to the organizations. Analysts have cognized that, beside planning, organizational change should also consider the changes in corporate culture also rather than giving importance to changes in structures and process. Corporate must be seen as a system, inputs can be any feedback from society or professions so on and process is based on values and artifacts examples are time, facilities so on. Outputs are technologies, strategy, plans etc.

Types of Culture

There are different types of culture according to their personality. Researcher Jeffrey Sonnenfeld identified the following four types of cultures.

Academy Culture

In Academy Culture employees are highly skilled and continue to stay in the organization, as working their way up the ranks. These organizations provide standing environment to employees so that they can easily develop and practice their skills. For instance: business schools, hospitals etc.

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Baseball Team Culture

In this culture employees are “free agents”, they are well skilled, have set of demand; can get jobs without problems for the skills they have. This culture can be seen in high-threat organizations. Examples are investment banking, advertising, etc.

Club Culture

The essential requirement for each employee in this culture is to actively participate in the group. Employees will set up from starting phase and stay with the organization. The organization promotes employees according to their seniority. Examples are the military, some law firms, etc.

Fortress Culture

Employees can’t calculate the right time when they are fired or not. These organizations regularly undergo several modifications. Highly skilled professionals get good opportunities in these organizations. Examples Large scale industries etc.

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Vertical Power

All employees along the vertical hierarchy have access to some sources of power. Although any person may have access to almost any source of power, each level in the hierarchy tends to be concerned with difficult power issues and to rely on somewhat different power sources.

Power sources for top management:

The formal pyramid of authority provides power and authority to top management. Top management is responsible for a great number of people and many resources, and authority is equal to those responsibilities. The chain of command converges at the top of the organization, so authority is great for top offices. The authority to govern granted to top management is reflected in both the formal organization structure and the decision authority defined by that structure. A large amount of power is allocated to senior management positions by the traditional organizational structure.

Power sources for Middle Managers:

The distribution of power down the hierarchy is influenced by organization design factors. Top managers will almost always have more power than middle managers, but the amount of power provided to any given position or organizational group can be built into organization’s structural design. The allocation of power to middle managers and staff is important because power enables employees to be productive. Mangers need sufficient power and latitude to perform their jobs well. When positions are powerless, middle managers may seem ineffective and may become petty, dictatorial, and rules minded. Power is the result of both task activities and network interactions. When a position is nonroutine, it encourages discretion, flexibility, and creativity.

When a job pertains to pertains to pressing organizational problems, power is more easily accumulated. Power is also increased when a position encourages contact with high-level people, brings visibility and recognition to employees and facilitates peer networks both inside and outside the organization. The logic of designing positions for more power assumes an organization does not have a limited amount of power to be allocated among high-level and low-level employees. Without sufficient power, middle-level people cannot be productive. Power can be built into positions and departments through the design of task activities and interaction opportunities.

Power sources for lower-level participants:

Positions at the bottom of an organization have less power than positions at higher levels. Often, however, people at the bottom levels obtain power disproportionate to their positions and are able to exert influence in an upward direction. Secretaries, maintenance people, word processors, computer programmers, and others find themselves being consulted in decisions or having great latitude and discretion in the performance of their jobs. The power of lower-level employees often surprises managers. The vice president of a university may be more reluctant to fire a secretary than to fire an academic department head. Why does it happen?

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People at lower levels obtain power from several sources. Some of these sources are individual because they reflect the personality and skill of employees. Other power sources are position based. One study found that unexpectedly high levels of power came from expertise, physical location, information, and personal effort. When lower-level participants become knowledgeable and expert about certain activities, they are in position to influence decisions. Sometimes individuals task on difficult task and acquire specialized knowledge, and then become indispensible to mangers above them.

The final source of power is a position that provides access to other important people. Access to powerful people and the development of a relationship with them provide a strong base of influence. However, access, persuasion, and manipulation only work as sources of power if employees are willing to make influence attempts that will provide desired outcomes.

Horizontal power

Horizontal power pertains to relationships across departments. All vice presidents usually at the same level on the organization chart. Horizontal power is not defined by the formal hierarchy or the organization chart. Each department makes a unique contribution to organizational success. Some departments will have greater say and will achieve their desired outcomes, whereas others will not. The theoretical concepts that explains relative power is called strategic contingencies.

Strategic contingencies:

Strategic contingencies are events and activities both inside and outside an organization that are essential for attaining organizational goals. Departments involved with strategic contingencies for the organizational tend to have greater power. Departmental activities are important when they provide strategic value by solving problems or crises for the organization.

(Reference book: “Organizational theory and design” Richard L.Daft, Vanderbilt university, south western college publishing)


Politics, like power, is intangible and difficult to measure. It is hidden from view and hard to observe in a systematic way. Two recent surveys uncovered the following reactions of mangers toward political behavior.

Most managers have a negative view towards politics and believe that politics will more often hurt than help an organization in achieving its goals.

Managers believe political behavior is common to practically all organizations.

Most managers think political behavior occurs more often at upper rather than lower levels in organizations.

Political behavior arises in certain decision domains, such as structural change, but is absent from other decisions, such as handling employee grievances.

Based on these surveys, politics seems more likely to occur at the top levels of an organizational and around certain issues and decisions. Moreover, managers do not approve of political behavior. Political behavior can be either a positive or a negative force. Politics is the use of power to get things accomplished-good things as well as bad. Uncertainly and conflict are nature and inevitable, and politics is the mechanism for reaching agreement. Politics includes informal discussions that enable participants to arrive at consensus and make decisions that otherwise might be stalemated or unsolvable.

(Reference book: “Organizational theory and design” Richard L.Daft, Vanderbilt university, south western college publishing)

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