IntroductionOrganizational structures, teams and stakeholders are integral to the success of organizations and businesses in the 21st century. They allow organizations to have some sense of flexibility and also effective leadership and management, whilst also providing extensive diversity and potential for numerous possibilities in the future. As such, the purpose of this essay and main aim is to analyze different types of organizational structures and their respective strengths and weaknesses as well as focus on differing system and team theories and the influence of key stakeholders in the success of companies in the 21st century. The audience should by the end of this paper, be able to better understand these respective requirements for success. Key to some of these requirements is the way organizations structure themselves and provide a basis for expansion and development in the future. This will also be analyzed extensively throughout this paper.
Three organizational structures that are used currently in the 21st century include the matrix, functional and divisional structures respectively. The functional organizational structure is the most widely used and focuses on a more structured and uniformed approach whereby the leadership and management of the organization stems from one Chief Executive officer with respective parties underneath them (Writing, 2015). This structured approach provides the organization with not only a hierarchal style of leadership and management but also with some means of controlling employees and ensuring that the organization remains highly robust, dynamic and effective within a certain industry. Two positive advantages of the functional approach include firstly, its hierarchal and very direct style, that allows employees to be controlled and for the organization to be very structured and aggressive in how it manages its divisions, departments and prospects for future success and employment. The second advantage is effective modes and networks of leadership and management. The organization can effectively be led from the front by a main leader with support being provided by lower departments and managers. A series of senior managers within a hierarchal style of organization and structure can ensure that the chief leader is well supported and that the company can continue to develop and innovate on a constant basis. Negative attributes of this style of organization include increasing inflexibility with respect to change and being open to the ideas and suggestions of departments who may be lower in the organization. Furthermore, these styles of organizations may rely too heavily on more traditional and conventional styles of leadership and management, which may not suit all employees and respective managers (Writing, 2015).
The second organizational structure, the divisional approach, focuses on the organization being divided into several different enterprises or divisions across a broader, geographical area. For example, it encompasses an organization, which may include several franchises in different locations, which effectively broaden its horizons and overall business potential. There are numerous advantages to the divisional organization style such as its ability to expand the business geographically and management wise. However some restrictions may be its fragmented style of leadership, which lends itself to the leaders of the organization-losing track of its different divisions and for certain areas to be neglected over others (Walonick, 1993).
The matrix organizational structure can also be implemented by respective organizations in the 21st century and is ultimately, a combination of the functional and divisional structures of organizations. The matrix structure is more complex and expansive than the other structures but also allows organizations to be very diverse and expansive in their influence and effectiveness over others. For example, a financial services organization may utilize the matrix structure to expand its business and focus on logistical and IT operations in addition to financial strategies and tactics. The two main advantages of the matrix organizational structure include firstly, its ability to broaden the horizons of the particular organization and to also allow it to expand and become more dynamic and robust (Walonick, 1993). A robust and dynamic organization can successfully reach out to a number of different enterprises without being limited to or constrained by just one in a specific industry. However the two main disadvantages of the matrix organizational structure include firstly, the fact that it can encourage conflict between respective divisions and departments that are equal in their weighting and responsibilities within the specific organization. The second disadvantage is the fact that it can become too complex and sophisticated for smaller organizations and requires careful planning otherwise it can be seen to extensively disadvantage the particular organization.
Organizational Systems Thinking and Designs
The concepts of general systems theory, general systems thinking and boundaryless organizations are also essential in both large and small organizations and businesses. The general systems theory proposes that components of an organization can be broken down into their respective parts that can then be more independently analyzed for the benefit of the organization overall. For example, in larger, more expansive organizations, there are limited opportunities for reviews to be held of individual departments and how they benefit the organization (Writing, 2015). However with general systems theory, organizations can better manage these expectations and be able to improve the operations of particular departments. This is also the case for general systems thinking and ensuring that leaders and managers of a particular organization can start considering the expectations and requirements of each of their departments. In many cases where organizations start to weaken and become less successful, particular departments such as finance or human resources have been extensively neglected. A general systems thinking approach can ensure that each of the components or systems of an organization are well maintained. For example, every organization relies on a set number of highly operational systems that allow for it to monitor certain processes and to deliver particular needs and products. From the start to the end of the system, there are processes involved and areas, which can inevitable and extensively be improved (Writing, 2015).
Boundaryless conditions are very unique with respect to the fact that they encourage organizations to be more flexible in how they manage the expectations and requirements of their respective employees and departments. There are unlimited numbers of conditions and guidelines within these organizations and this allows such businesses and organizations to be more proactive about their processes and ways to become more successful (Walonick, 1993). For example, employees can be given more autonomy to propose particular ideas and better ways of operating on a daily basis. Whereas in more restrictive organizations such as those identified under the divisional and functional structures, conditions and guidelines are unchangeable and not infinite with respect to what they allow departments, managers and general employees to do and achieve overall.
There are a number of positive characteristics associated with systems thinking and boundaryless conditions across numerous organizations. The first and most significant of these is the fact that they provide increased flexibility for organizations to manage their employees and generate results (Writing, 2015). When departments are better managed and monitored overall via a systems way of thinking, they are able to provide a higher level of results and a greater contribution to the overall structure of the organization. Furthermore, there is room for improvement and development when senior leadership and managers become more open to change and respective developments. The second positive attribute or characteristic associated with these two different styles includes the potential for individuals to have a greater influence within respective organizations. They allow these organizations to better utilize their employees and not only senior managers but more junior personnel, who may not in more conventional circumstances, have any influence or significant organizational power (Writing, 2015).
Managing Virtual and Traditional Teams
Another challenge to respective organizations in the 21st century is managing virtual and traditional teams. Teamwork is such a large part of any organization that its effective management can lead to a number of different results, all positive in nature. There are however, also a number of challenges associated with both styles of teams and management overall. Challenges associated with managing virtual teams include communication and being able to more directly and effectively manage hands on teams that have a large workload and numerous personal and professional requirements (Writing, 2015). For example, virtual teams that work across a broad spectrum of locations can be difficult to manage given that communication is primarily managed across the Internet or a particular technological database or system. In contrast, the associated opportunities for virtual teams are numerous and are allowing organizations to have a much broader scope internationally. For example, organizations can now hire employees from nations thousands of miles away and this further exposes organizations to a larger talent pool, given that other nations have varying degrees of qualifications and skills (skills that may not be accessed nationally). Two positive attributes associated with virtual team management include firstly, its diversity and robust nature and secondly, its ability to better engage a larger talent pool. Negative attributes associated with virtual team management include its inflexibility with respect to face-to-face management and co-ordination as well as issues associated with technology and accessibility to it on a constant, day to day basis (Writing, 2015).
Traditional teams also have a number of challenges and associated opportunities. Challenges associated with traditional teams focus on their lack of change or exposure to developments. They are very much restricted by their design and structure with limited scope or ability to expand. More traditional focuses do not allow individuals to grow within their respective positions and overall departments. Opportunities for traditional teams are numerous however and focus on teams growing in their abilities and effectiveness. Traditional teams can display very effective management and leadership skills and this can be critical to the success of the company overall (Walonick, 1993). Two positive attributes relating to traditional team management include their stronger leadership and management potential as well as hands on interaction with one another, which can be effective when technology is not wholly relied upon. Negative attributes associated with traditional team management include inflexibility associated with lack of change within the organization and secondly, their restrictive guidelines and protocols.
Shareholders and Stakeholders
The difference between shareholders and stakeholders is solely focused on their level of interaction with the particular company. Shareholders can be indirectly related to the company but still hold a primary financial interest or influence. Whereas stakeholders are directly influenced by the company. The concept of emerging stakeholders is also important to organizations as it looks at the introduction of new stakeholders that are responsible for progressing and subsequently developing a company further (Walonick, 1993). For example, emerging stakeholders may be new supplies or partners that the company is considering relating to.
As clearly stipulated in the introduction and throughout this paper, organizational structures, teams and stakeholders are crucial to the success of a number of different businesses and corporations worldwide. They allow such organizations to grow, develop and to ultimately succeed. It has also been identified throughout this paper that these requirements are often neglected and when managed adequately, can play a part in the current and future prospects and success of different organizations.
- Walonick, D. (1993). General Systems Theory. Retrieved from http://www.statpac.org/walonick/systems-theory.htm Accessed on 6th January 2016.
- Writing, A. (2015). Different Types of Organizational Structure. The Chron, Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/different-types-organizational-structure-723.html Accessed on 6th January 2016.