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Robbins & Judge

Organizational Behavior
13th Edition

Foundations of Organizational
Bob Stretch
Southwestern College

© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 16-0

Chapter Learning Objectives
 After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
– Identify the six elements of an organization’s structure.
– Identify the characteristics of a bureaucracy.
– Describe a matrix organization.
– Identify the characteristics of a virtual organization.
– Show why managers want to create boundaryless
– Demonstrate how organizational structures differ, and
contrast mechanistic and organic structural models.
– Analyze the behavioral implications of different
organizational designs.
– Show how globalization affects organizational structure.

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What Is Organizational Structure?
 Organizational Structure
– How job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and
– Key Elements:
1. Work specialization
2. Departmentalization
3. Chain of command
4. Span of control
5. Centralization and decentralization
6. Formalization

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1. Work Specialization
 The degree to which tasks in the organization are
subdivided into separate jobs
 Division of Labor
– Makes efficient use of employee skills
– Increases employee skills through repetition
– Less between-job downtime increases productivity
– Specialized training is more efficient
– Allows use of specialized equipment
 Can create greater economies and efficiencies – but not

E X H I B I T 16-1

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Work Specialization Economies and Diseconomies

 Specialization can reach a point of diminishing returns

 Then job enlargement gives greater efficiencies than
does specialization

E X H I B I T 16-2

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2. Departmentalization
 The basis by which jobs are grouped together
 Grouping Activities by:
– Function
– Product
– Geography
– Process
– Customer

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3. Chain of Command
 Authority
– The rights inherent in a managerial position to give orders
and to expect the orders to be obeyed
 Chain of Command
– The unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of
the organization to the lowest echelon and clarifies who
reports to whom
 Unity of Command
– A subordinate should have only one superior to whom he or
she is directly responsible

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4. Span of Control
The number of subordinates a manager can efficiently and
effectively direct
– Wider spans of management
increase organizational
– Narrow span drawbacks:
• Expense of additional layers of
• Increased complexity of vertical
• Encouragement of overly tight
supervision and discouragement
of employee autonomy

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Contrasting Spans of Control

E X H I B I T 16-3

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5. Centralization and Decentralization
 Centralization
– The degree to which decision making is concentrated at a
single point in the organization.
 Decentralization
– The degree to which decision making is spread throughout
the organization.

© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 16-9

6. Formalization
 The degree to which jobs within the organization are
– High formalization
• Minimum worker discretion in how to get the job done
• Many rules and procedures to follow
– Low formalization
• Job behaviors are nonprogrammed
• Employees have maximum discretion

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Common Organization Designs: Simple Structure
 Simple Structure
– A structure characterized by a low degree of
departmentalization, wide spans of control, authority
centralized in a single person, and little formalization

E X H I B I T 16-4

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Common Organizational Designs: Bureaucracy

 Bureaucracy
– A structure of highly operating
routine tasks achieved through
specialization, very formalized
rules and regulations, tasks that
are grouped into functional
departments, centralized
authority, narrow spans of control,
and decision making that follows
the chain of command

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An Assessment of Bureaucracies

Strengths Weaknesses
– Functional economies of – Subunit conflicts with
scale organizational goals
– Minimum duplication of – Obsessive concern with
personnel and equipment rules and regulations
– Enhanced communication – Lack of employee
– Centralized decision discretion to deal with
making problems

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Common Organizational Designs: Matrix
 Matrix Structure
– A structure that creates dual lines of authority and combines
functional and product departmentalization
 Key Elements
– Gains the advantages of functional and product
departmentalization while avoiding their weaknesses
– Facilitates coordination of complex and interdependent
– Breaks down unity-of-command concept

E X H I B I T 16-5

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New Design Options: Virtual Organization
– A small, core organization
that outsources its major
business functions
– Highly centralized with
little or no
• Provides maximum
flexibility while
concentrating on what
the organization does
• Reduced control over
key parts of the business
E X H I B I T 16-6

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New Design Options: Boundaryless Organization
– An organization that seeks to eliminate the chain of
command, have limitless spans of control, and replace
departments with empowered teams
– T-form Concepts
• Eliminate vertical (hierarchical) and horizontal (departmental)
internal boundaries
• Breakdown external barriers to customers and suppliers

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Two Extreme Models of Organizational Design

E X H I B I T 16-7

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Four Reasons Structures Differ
1. Strategy
– Innovation Strategy
• A strategy that emphasizes the introduction of major new
products and services
• Organic structure best
– Cost-minimization Strategy
• A strategy that emphasizes tight cost controls, avoidance of
unnecessary innovation or marketing expenses, and price
• Mechanistic model best
– Imitation Strategy
• A strategy that seeks to move into new products or new
markets only after their viability has already been proven
• Mixture of the two types of structure
E X H I B I T 16-8

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Why Structures Differ
2. Organizational Size
– As organizations grow, they become more mechanistic,
more specialized, with more rules and regulations
3. Technology
– How an organization transfers its inputs into outputs
• The more routine the activities, the more mechanistic the
structure with greater formalization
• Custom activities need an organic structure
4. Environment
– Institutions or forces outside the organization that
potentially affect the organization’s performance
– Three key dimensions: capacity, volatility, and complexity

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Three-Dimensional Environment Model


Complexity Capacity

 Capacity
– The degree to which an environment can support growth
 Volatility
– The degree of instability in the environment
 Complexity
– The degree of heterogeneity and concentration among
environmental elements

E X H I B I T 16-9

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Organizational Designs and Employee Behavior
 Impossible to generalize due to individual differences in
the employees
 Research findings
– Work specialization contributes to higher employee
productivity, but it reduces job satisfaction.
– The benefits of specialization have decreased rapidly as
employees seek more intrinsically rewarding jobs.
– The effect of span of control on employee performance is
contingent upon individual differences and abilities, task
structures, and other organizational factors.
– Participative decision making in decentralized organizations
is positively related to job satisfaction.
 People seek and stay at organizations that match their
© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 16-21
Global Implications
 Culture and Organizational Structure
– Many countries follow the U.S. model
– U.S. management may be too individualistic
 Culture and Employee Structure Preferences
– Cultures with high-power distance may prefer mechanistic
 Culture and the Boundaryless Organization
– May be a solution to regional differences in global firms
– Breaks down cultural barriers, especially in strategic alliances
– Telecommuting also blurs organizational boundaries

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Summary and Managerial Implications
 Structure impacts both the attitudes and behaviors of
the people within it


 Impact of Technology
– Makes it easier to change structure to fit employee and
organizational needs
E X H I B I T 16-10

© 2009 Prentice-Hall Inc. All rights reserved. 16-23

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