limited company the person at the top is the Managing Director who is ultimately responsible for the whole organisation.
8. As the levels within the organisation are ascended, the number of people at each level decreases and this gives the organisation a pyramidal structure.
In an organisation with flat structure there are fewer levels or grades of staff and much more emphasis on communication across the organisation. This is more likely to be the structure of a small business where everyone knows each other and works together more as a team.
In some situations, however, a relatively wide span of control may be acceptable if:
9. The potential disadvantages of a wide span are outweighed by the costs of employing the extra managers needed to produce narrower spans of control.
10. Junior employees are engaged mainly in routine work and as a result the manager is required to make relatively few decisions.
11. Managers are willing to reduce the pressure on their own time by delegating more decision making and they can identify staff who are likely to respond well to the extra responsibility.
12. An effective range of financial and non-financial motivational factors produces a committed group of people who need very little supervision.
13. The group within the span are highly skilled or talented and are given a great deal of scope to be creative and imaginative in their work.
In a line structure, a company is usually organised into functional departments, each headed by a senior manager, below whom there is a chain of command. This indicates that there is a line of authority and responsibility as one goes down the structure.
Each person in the line has authority over those below, while being responsible for making sure that the work handed down to them from their immediate manager is completed. This applies even if the subordinate does not personally undertake the actual work.
14. It is hierarchical structure which is simple to understand - staff know precisely where they are in the structure, who can allocate work to them and to whom they are responsible.
15. Managers have a clear understanding of the roles of people when allocating work and spend less time monitoring work because subordinates are not distracted or confused by instructions from other sources.
16. A well-established line authority makes it possible for work to be delegated further down the line - this can be valuable when superior is seeking to widen the experience subordinates and develop their management or supervisory skills.
17. It can involve a very long chain of command - instructions may take a considerable time to filter from the top and impact on production, which can be an important drawback if the organisation operates in a rapidly changing market.
18. The flow of information back up a long chain to management may be a lengthy process, causing a considerable delay before problems are identified and tackled.
19. Individuals might only respond to requests from the superior, creating inflexibility in the organisation which may be totally unnecessary if co-operation with other managers does not effect working relations with their superior.
Line and staff structure
A line and staff structure combines both a line authority and what is known as staff authority. The term staff authority refers to those staff, usually at a relatively senior level, whose are of work often involves dealing with different departments. Someone with the relevant staff authority can provide services and advises to those in the line of authority of other departments. Managers with staff authority do not have the power to control or give instructions, but rather the authority to deal with different departments and to offer advice or support services in relation to problems or exploiting new opportunities. However, since those with staff authority are appointed because of their expertise, experience and good personal skills, their advice, though not binding, is likely to be very persuasive.
20. Staff authority enables the expertise and experience of specialists to be utilised more fully across the organisation.
21. By having access to all areas of the company, managers with staff authority, communications between departments are at director level, and so any inter-departmental communication has to pass up the chain of command in one department to director level and then down the other before it reaches the appropriate level.
22. Staff authority prevents individual departments from being too inward looking - departments remain aware of their interdependence and their role in seeking to achieve the organisation's objectives.
There is a risk that staff authority may diminish the authority of individuals in the line management, particularly if those with staff functions acquire informal power and authority.
In a matrix structure, a senior manager heads a division or team of specialists drawn from different departments. These specialists are also located in departments where they are part of a line authority; they are therefore subject to two sources of authority.
In a matrix structure the simple chain of command found in a line structure is replaced by a very large number of reporting relationships as individuals report to managers in more than one department or function.
A matrix structure may be used for just some of an organisation's activities or it may cover the whole work of the organisation. It is often used for organising and managing project teams, where people with specialist skills, perhaps from different levels in the hierarchy, are brought together to solve complex and urgent problems. Project teams may be created to deal with issues which arise every now and again or they may be an ongoing feature of the organisational structure.
Some aspects of marketing, however, may be handled by an ongoing project team drawn from other departments, although the membership of the group may change as different marketing issues arise.
23. It promotes increased co-ordination between departments because it cuts across departmental boundaries - it encourages greater flexibility and creativity, produced by the cross-fertilisation of knowledge and skills.
24. It allows for the involvement of relatively junior staff, giving them valuable experience in a wider field for the expression and application of their particular skills.
25. Staff lower down a line structure can also gain valuable management development in a project team, preparing them for promotion to higher management positions.
26. The involvement of specialists from different areas reduces the risk of resources being wasted on projects with no future - in non-matrix structures an idea originating in, say, the marketing department may be pursued for a long time before it comes to the attention of production which might find that it is simply not practical.
. The existence of a matrix structure and project teams can lead to confusion as individuals are involved in a large number of different relationships creating a complex pattern of authority and responsibility.
. A line manager may resent a subordinate receiving instructions from managers based on other departments, especially if they are at a lower level of management.
. This also raises questions as to who has priority over the subordinate's time and what information arising out of the work of the project team should also be reported through the line authority. This can be a potential source of conflict and relations may also be strained if the subordinate suffers from divided loyalty.
Organisations are centralised when the majority of decisions are taken by a few people at the top of the organisation and little decision making is delegated to those further down the