Changing Organizational Structure in 21st Century


“Organizational structure” refers to the formal and informal patterns of relationships by which an institution organizes work and distributes power. The bureaucratic structure is rigid, hierarchical, and segmented. It also dilutes individual responsibility. The net effect is insufficient responsiveness to citizen concerns and costly inefficiencies arising from excessive controls that ultimately fail to provide accountability to the public for achieving results. Whereas, some modern and adoptive organizations are changing to flat and has got a wide span of control.

Organizations should work through the following agents to exercise the change.

  • Organize work around results that customers consider valuable.
  • Shift accountability from the use of rigid, centralized management control systems to a reliance on quasi-market techniques, such as competition among providers, and concentrate on high-quality results.
  • Create partnerships within and between agencies, and create flexible relationships to increase the focus on serving customer needs.
  • Empower employees with the authority, skills, and information required to do their jobs, and redefine managers’ role to that of team leader, coach, or facilitator.

The strategies for change

There are basically four strategies to make a change in the organizational structure

  1. Streamline Structures

The first strategy is to delayer headquarters and streamline field structures. This approach targets administrative costs and positions. Therefore, careful study is needed to ensure closures contribute to improved service delivery, not just cost savings. Each agency must make its own administrative reduction decisions based on its knowledge of mission and priorities.

  1. Reengineer Work Processes

This strategy, which often is referred to as “starting over,” calls for beginning with a blank sheet of paper and then designing the optimal way to perform a necessary process, regardless of the pre- existing system. The process often produces radical change, with functions eliminated or redesigned. Private sector experience indicates that reengineering can sharply reduce internal processes and generate significant change. Federal experience, such as at the Defense Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), suggests great potential for improving performance and reducing costs.

  1. Create Boundary-Crossing Partnerships

Real life needs do not always conform to the existing bureaucratic design of a program. Citizens often need services from more than one department at a time. Problems such as unemployment, crime, the environment, workforce training, and natural disaster relief demand a multi-department response. Cross-boundary partnerships are essential to helping the government address complex problems in a comprehensive fashion without adding programs or creating agencies.

  1. Create Self-Managing Work Teams

In growing numbers of corporations, work teams have replaced traditional management, often dramatically increasing productivity and enhancing the quality of work life for employees. Not all teams are alike in the responsibility and accountability they possess. But highly developed teams control functions once reserved for management: hiring, firing, and promoting; designing work processes; establishing production schedules; setting goals and performance measures; and maintaining quality control.

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