Organizational Structure and Changes in Technology

by: Dylan Dement

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Table Of Contents (Outline) :

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Suggestions for Managers
  4. Conclusion (and references)
1. Introduction

‍1.1 Definition of Organizational Structure:

  • Refers to how the work of individuals and teams within an Organization is coordinated. (Bauer and Erdogan, page 345)

‍1.2 Characteristics of Organizational Structure:

  • "Centralization" refers to the degree where important decision making is made by an elite individual or higher levels in an organization. "Decentralization" is the opposite, referring to decision making power at all levels of an Organization. Ideally an individual or organization would most likely find a balance between the two.
  • "Formalization" refers to structure thats has predetermined written rules and regulations, which determine polices, job descriptions, and most if not all decisions for employees. This form of organization can be affected because employees are consistent and predictable. Although, it can lower n employees decision making speed and job satisfaction.
  • "Hierarchical Levels" are the levels of power in a company's structure.Tall Structures- "An Organization where there are several layers of management between frontline employees and the top level." (Bauer and Erdogan, page 348) Flat structures- " An organization with few layers, often with large numbers of employees reporting to a single manager." (Bauer and Erdogan, page 348) Span of Control- "The number of employees reporting to a single manager." (Bauer and Erdogan, page 348)
  • "Departmentalization" refers to how a company organizes how the structure is arranged in terms of employees. The two main ways for Organizations to categorize are with : Functional Structures- "Grouping of Jobs based on similarity in functions."(Bauer and Erdogan, page 349) and Divisional Structures- "Grouping jobs based on the product, services, customers, or geographic locations the company is serving." (Bauer and Erdogan, page 349)

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This is an example of Divisional Structures. (page 349)

  • Mechanistic Structures- "Structures that resemble a bureaucracy and are highly formalized and centralized." (page 350)
  • Organic Structures- "Flexible and decentralized structures with low levels of formalization where communication lines are more fluid
and flexible." (page 350)

‍1.3 Forms of Organizational Structure:

  1. Matrix Organizations: "a cross between a traditional functional structure with a product structure. Specifically, employees reporting to department managers are also pooled together to form a project or product teams." (page 350) This form can increase communication amongst departments and the entire organization, because project managers must coordinate with Department Managers.
  2. Boundaryless Organization: "a term coined by Jack Welch of GE and refers to an organization that eliminates traditional barriers between departments as well as barriers between the organization and the external environment." (page 352) An example of this is Modular Organizations which refer to companies that outsource all elements of the business that are nonessential functions. Another example is Strategic Alliance, which refers to two or more companies collaborating and combining strengths to create a partnership that both parties get value from.
  3. Learning Organization: "An organization where acquiring knowledge and changing behavior as a result of the newly acquired knowledge is part of an Organizations design." (page 352) This type of organization is strong in identifying future opportunities, because experimenting and testing of different methods of business practice are not only encourage, but considered the norm.

‍1.4 Definition of Technology:

  • Technology- According to Technology refers to: "the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science."
  • According to author James Taylor from Human Resources, says that technology and new technology can effect productivity, group member attitudes, organizational structure, and work group behavior. This means that technology impacts organizations in more then one important aspect.

1.5 How Changing Technology Relates to Organizational Structure:

  • "Sometimes Change is Motivated by rapid developments in Technology." (Bauer and Erdogan, page 354)
  • Factors specific to an Organizations Industry, competition, and technology are the key factors that trigger change according to The journal of Education for Business.
  • Improving changes in technology can help Organizations in many ways. Change in technology can increase productivity, communication, and overall effectiveness of an Organization as long as the transition from old to new is done correctly.

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Body: Organizational Structure and Change and Technology
      • Organizational Structure and Change in Technology refers to the complex processes of how Organizations cope with transitions from old to new technologies. Organizational Structure on it own is critical for an organization because it sets the foundation of how the company will operate. Technology is important to these organizations and their structures, because it allows for operations to run smoother, help employees cmmunicate better, as well as many other things.

  • ‍Changing from Old to New Technology

      • Organizational Change-"is the movement of an organization from one state of affairs to another" (Bauer and Erdogan, page 354) Organizational change is often sparked by changes in the environment. One example of this can mean a companies competetion evolves to a new technology and an Organization must adapt and change to continue to compete.According to our book, a company is more likely to change if it is doing bad, rather then chaging because of the environmental demands.
      • A real world example of this is the situation Blockbuster has been in the last ten years or so. Blockbuster was the movie rental power house up to the turn of the century. But, as technology developed in this business, Blockbuster started to straggle behind. Redbox, and companies like Netflix were able to emerge and provide a quality service that the consumers prefer over the older traditional methods used by Blockbuster. Blockbuster nearly went out of business because the market demanded a higher effiency of service, that Blockbuster simply didn't have the technology to compete with services, with the store fronts they had available. Fortunately, Blockbuster is now back on the rise, because of changes they have made in their business through technology. Blockbuster now offers services similar to redbox rental kiosks, that are convenient for the customer. Also Blockbuster has also developed an online rental system similar to Netflix. This is a good example of how a company was able to stay alive because of changes in the Organizations Technology, and Organizational Structure.
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  • ‍According to the Journal of Business Venturing :

    "When the environment is turbulent, innovating firms attach more value in keeping their options open."
  • ‍Resistance to Change

      • Change is necessary for companies in order to remain competetive, if handled correctly it can encourage growth, if change is handled poorly it can result in decline of a Company.
      • Types of Resistance:
        • Active Resistance-"The most negative reaction to a proposed change". (Bauer and Erdogan, page 356) This can be very negative, because it means that an individual truly feels the change may be wrong and it is often hard to change the individuals opinion. Though this isn't neccessarily a bad thing, Organizational Structures need contrasting beliefs in order to function correctly, and compete to improve eachother.
        • Passive Resistance-"Being disturbed by changes without necessarily voicing these opinions." (page 356) This means an individual disagrees with a change but keeps their opinion to themselves. This is not good for a companies Organizational Structure, because managers are often unaware the indidvual is unhappy. It is the responsisbility of managers to inform employees of changes and the reason for changes, so the employees fully understand why the change is implemented. Employees who are passive resistant often work less efficiently and are more willing to leave the company fora new job elsewhere.
        • Compliance-"Going along with proposed changes with little enthusiasm." (page 356)
        • Enthusiastic Support- "Defenders of the new way and actually encourage others around them to give support to the change effort as well." (page 356) These types of change supporters are good for Organazations and Mangers because it makes it easier for them to make changes efficiently.
    • It is the responsibility of mangers to identify these types of resistance in their employees and overcome the differences in order to smoothly implement a change in the Organizational Structure, or in a new technology. When companies can't overcome employee resistance, time and money are wasted in the attempted change. If changes are not handled smoothly then a company is unable to respond to what the environment is asking of them, and the company will operate less efficently.

  • ‍Why Individuals are Resistant to Change

    • Disrupted Habits
      • Employees often are resistant to change in an organization, for the simple reason that it disrupts their work habits. All human beings develop habits, its natural even in the workplace. Often times new technologies require employees to educated or reducated. New technologies can take time to learn and understand, and can be frusturating for employees, if the transistions to change are done too quickly, or require too much out of the employees.
    • Personality of Individual
      • Personality's of employees factor in when it comes to their reaction and impact on a changes in the Organization. Individuals who have a "positive self concept" are often better at adapting to change in the work place. (Bauer and Ergodan, page 357) Individuals who are timid an super conservative are often avoiding of change, and dislike change in the work place. Managers must understand employees personality types to help overcome them.
    • Feelings of Uncertainty and Failure
      • Many individuals are uncertian when changes are being implemented. It often begs the questionof how the change will effect the individual personally, and not fully knowing is usually a bad feeling for employees to have, although its inevitable.People often feel that they will fail when they are in uncharted waters. Employees may also have a perceived loss of power, and fear change because they feel it will only hurt their position in the company. Self preservation is important to almost everyone. When managers apply a change knowing that some employees will not benefit from the change, the managers have to anticipate resistance from these employees.
      • Provide Support!
          • Employees like to feel valued, and need to be listened too. When educating employees for upcoming changes in the Organization, or for new Technologies it is important that employee's don't feel like their needs are ignored. Managers have the responsibility to employee's to give support when it is needed. Often times employee's have minor issues, but if they aren't given proper feedback these problems can grow and turn into larger issues.
        • Communication!
          • An organization, no matter what structure can not operate smoothly without good communication. When transitions in technology are occurring it is the responsibility of the managers to make sure the employees are educated and prepared to efficiently handle the new technology. Communication can be verbal, or virtual as long as it is clear for the reader.
        • Be Aware!
          • A companies Organizational Structure and efficiency of operations, are essential for the success of that company. Managers have the responsibility to be aware of the changes that are occurring globally, but more specifically to the changes in technology in relation to their field of business and competitors. Managers must find ways to transition to new Technologies in order to improve efficiency, and avoid hick ups in transitions. So do your research.
        • Set Regulations, and Follow through!
          • Organizational Structure allows for organizations to operate on standards and regulations. Whether the companies structure is centralized, decentralized, or formalized whatever method is chosen should be firmly presented and represented. If an employee breaks the ranks of the system he or she should be properly punished, to stress the importance of the Organizational Structure.
        • Evolve!!
          • Organizations are similar to Organisms in the respect that both need to evolve over time to survive. A company that is using technology from the early eighties will have a numerous issues competing with the a modern business, especially in terms of global business. Managers must not only be aware of the changes that are taking place around them with their organization and technology, but must also be able to apply new strengths and remove old weakness. Also when executing changes to aid evolution of an organization, its good to create an atmosphere of urgency. Employees react better when they understand the change is needed and must be applied efficiently and immediately.
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    • 4. Conclusion
      Organizational Structure and Change and Technology in sum refers to the complex process of Organizational Structures and their transition from old to new technology. Organizational Structures are critical in the success of the a business because they set the grounds to which companies run off. They decide chain of command as well as help distribute duties, and help managers regulate employees easier. Technology is an ever changing commodity that is a necessity when it comes to modern business. Companies who are on top of the latest technologies often are able to run more efficiently and improve productivity. Companies that have the latest technology and are also able to educate and transition employees the most smoothly and easiest. Technology has had a big impact on Organizational Structure over the years, some modern business operate souly online and need very few employees to operate, despite high revenues. Companies can simplify Organizational Structures by minimizing employees through implementing newTechnology.

      *This is a bad example of how to cope with Technology in the Work Place**