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FOUNDATIONS OF ORGANIZATION DESIGN

Ms. Raku made pottery in her basement. That involved a number of distinct tasks—wedging clay,
forming pots, tooling them when semidry, preparing and then applying the glazes, and firing the
pots in the kiln. But the coordination of all these tasks presented no problem; she did them all
herself. The problem was her ambition and the attractiveness of her pots: the orders exceeded her
production capacity. So she hired Miss Bisque, who was eager to learn pottery making. But this
meant Ms. Raku had to divide up the work. Since the craft shops wanted pottery made by Ms.
Raku, it was decided that Miss Bisque would wedge the clay and prepare the glazes, and Ms. Raku
would do the rest. And this required coordination of the work—a small problem, in fact, with two
people in a pottery studio: they simply communicated informally. The arrangement worked well, so
well that before long, Ms. Raku was again swamped with orders. More assistants were needed. But
this time, foreseeing the day when they would be forming pots themselves, Ms. Raku decided to
hire them right out of the local pottery school. So whereas it had taken some time to train Miss
Bisque, the three new assistants knew exactly what to do at the outset and blended right in; even
with five people, coordination presented no problem. As two more assistants were added, however,
coordination problems did arise. One day Miss Bisque tripped over a pail of glaze and broke five
pots; another day, Ms. Raku opened the kiln to find that the hanging planters had all been glazed
fuchsia by mistake. At this point, she realized that seven people in a small pottery studio could not
coordinate all their work through the simple mechanism of informal communication. Making
matters worse was the fact that Ms. Raku, now calling herself president of Ceramics Inc., was
forced to spend more and more time with customers; indeed, these days she was more apt to be
found in a Marimekko dress than a pair of jeans. So she named Miss Bisque studio manager; she
was to occupy herself full-time with supervising and coordinating the work of the five producers of
the pottery. The firm continued to grow. Major changes again took place when a work-study
analyst was hired. He recommended changes whereby each person performed only one task for one
of the product lines (pots, ashtrays, hanging planters, and ceramic animals)—the first wedged, the
second formed, the third tooled, and so on. Thus, production took the form of four assembly lines.
Each person followed a set of standard instructions, worked out in advance to ensure the
coordination of all their work. Of course, Ceramics Inc. no longer sold to craft shops; Ms. Raku
would only accept orders by the gross, most of which came from chains of discount stores. Ms.
Raku's ambition was limitless, and when the chance came to diversify, she did. First ceramic tiles,
then bathroom fixtures, finally clay bricks. The firm was subsequently partitioned into three
divisions—consumer products, building products, and industrial products. From her office on the
fifty-fifth story of the Pottery Tower, she coordinated the activities of the divisions by reviewing
their performance each quarter of the year and taking personal action when their profit and growth
figures dipped below those budgeted. It was while sitting at her desk one day going over these
budgets that Ms. Raku gazed out at the surrounding skyscrapers and decided to rename her
company "Ceramico."

Questions:

1-Describe the different stages in the development of Ms Raku's enterprise?


2-How were successive work coordination problems solved by Ms raku?
3- How could you characterize the different structures of Ms Raku's enterprise over time?
4- Do you think there is one best structure for a firm?

5- Mettre en francais: paragraphe 2 "the problem was her ambition .....would do the rest "
et dernier paragraphe "Ms Raku's ambition ....Ceramico"
Answers:

1- The different stages Ms Raku’s enterprise went through since the time she was
working alone could be stated as follows:
a- First stage: Ms Raku was working alone and she was performing the different required tasks
for making pottery by herself, so there was no problem of coordination.
b- Second stage: The number of orders exceeded the production rate and Ms Raku had to hire
Miss Biskis to help her with some tasks. However, the main drawback was that the two people
were communicating informally.
c- The third stage: Orders were multiplied and Ms Raku decided to hire three qualified
assistants directly from the local pottery school. There was no need for any training period, and
work went smoothly.
d- The fourth stage: Two new assistants were hired, but some coordination problems arised, so
Ms Raku named Miss Bisque Studio manager as she was more concentrating on receiving
customers and supervising the others’ work.
e- The fifth stage: A work-study analyst was hired and production took the form of four
assembly lines. The firm kept on growing and Ceramics. Inc stopped dealing with retail shops.
f- The sixth stage: The firm was divided into three main sections—consumer products, building
products, and industrial products. Ms Raku was still supervising periodically the whole work
and she eventually renamed her company "Ceramico."

2-how were successive work coordination problems solved by Ms raku?


Ms Raku solved the successive coordination problems in her firm by recruiting new employees
and also by creating new divisions and organizing work differently each time a problem arised
or the firm grew bigger. Ms Raku had found out that she needed help each time orders exceeded
production rate, but she also decided to create a well-organised team that could work together
and communicate effectively. The major change that "Ceramico" went through was when it was
divided into three main divisions following the expert advice. However, the quality and the
attractiveness of Ms Raku pottery production was of a great help in the whole process.

3- How could you characterize the different structures of Ms Raku's enterprise over time?
The different structures Ms Raku’s enterprise experienced through time are typically
characterized by a sort of ‘chain production’ approach. From the very beginning Ms Raku had
decided to divide tasks and create teams that worked in a complementary form. Each section
was specialized in performing a specific task and afterward each division was producing a
different kind of pottery crafts. The different structures were all the time controlled by a skilled
and experienced supervisor as herself or Miss Bisque who was her first employee. It is also clear
that Ms Raku gave the customer service section a great importance as she was all the time
withdrawing tasks for the sake of taking care of her clients directly.

4- Do you think there is one best structure for a firm?


I don’t really think there is a ‘best’ or a ‘worst ‘structure for a firm because each firm has its
own characteristics and particular aspects. The difficulty usually comes from applying the right
structure to the right firm at the right time or period. In the text example Ms Raku was quite
successful in making the right decisions at the right time, and that’s why her firm was growing
bigger and bigger. Hiring the right people could also be a major factor in organising work
effectively and in adopting the right structure. Effective Communication is also very important
in detecting the right time when a firm owner has to make structure change. Eventually, I would
say that there is no ‘ideal’ structure but many choices that could be ‘’ best’’ or ‘’ worst’’
depending on the time and the way you make them.

5- Mettre en francais : paragraphe 2 "the problem was her ambition .....would do the rest
" et dernier paragraphe "Ms Raku's ambition ....Ceramico"

Original text:

‘’ The problem was her ambition and the attractiveness of her pots: the orders exceeded her
production capacity. So she hired Miss Bisque, who was eager to learn pottery making. But this
meant Ms. Raku had to divide up the work. Since the craft shops wanted pottery made by Ms.
Raku, it was decided that Miss Bisque would wedge the clay and prepare the glazes, and Ms.
Raku would do the rest.’’

Translation:

Le problème était son ambition et l'attrait de ses pots: les commandes ont outrepassé sa capacité
de production. Donc, elle a embauchée Miss Bisque, qui était désireux d'apprendre la poterie.
Mais cela voulait dire que Mme Raku devrait répartir le travail. Comme les boutiques
d'artisanat voulaient des poteries faites par Mme Raku, il a été décidé que Miss Bisque
s’occuperait de modeler l’argile et de préparer les émaux, et Mme Raku ferait le reste.

Original text:

Ms. Raku's ambition was limitless, and when the chance came to diversify, she did. First
ceramic tiles, then bathroom fixtures, finally clay bricks. The firm was subsequently partitioned
into three divisions—consumer products, building products, and industrial products. From her
office on the fifty-fifth story of the Pottery Tower, she coordinated the activities of the divisions
by reviewing their performance each quarter of the year and taking personal action when their
profit and growth figures dipped below those budgeted. It was while sitting at her desk one day
going over these budgets that Ms. Raku gazed out at the surrounding skyscrapers and decided to
rename her company "Ceramico."

Translation:

L’ambition de Madame Raku était sans limite, et lorsque l'occasion s'est présentée pour
diversifier, elle a fait. Au début c’était les tuiles de céramique, puis les appareils sanitaires et
enfin les briques d’argile. La firme a ensuite été divisée en trois sections - produites de
consommation, produites de construction et les produits industriels. De son bureau a la
cinquante-cinquième étage de la Tour de Poterie, elle a coordonné les activités des divisions en
examinant leurs performances chaque trimestre de l'année et aussi en prenant des mesures
personnels lorsque leurs bénéfices et chiffres de croissance tombés en dessous de ceux
budgétés. Ç’est alors qu'elle était assise un jour dans son bureau en examinant ces budgets que
Mme Raku regardait vers les gratte-ciels avoisinants et a décidé de renommer sa compagnie
"Ceramico’’.