1. Consider the three different ways of horizontally structuring organizations as already discussed. From your own experience and that of others known to you, what advantages and disadvantages are there, in each of these types, for the following groups of workers? • Professional ‘experts’ who specialize in a narrow field of work (e.g. nurses working in operating theatres; writers of distance learning materials concerned with the training of staff in human resources departments). • Unskilled workers on factory assembly lines. • Marketing managers. • Call center advisors, located in one place, but taking calls from anywhere in the world. How similar/different are the advantages and disadvantages of one group of workers compared to another? How far do your findings demonstrate the argument that different individuals and groups will perceive the ‘same’ organizational structures in different ways? 2. Koontz and Weihrich (1990) say that matrix-type organizations occur frequently in construction, aerospace, marketing, and management consulting firms in which professionals work together on a project. Figure 7.5 shows a matrix structure for an advertising agency, which is an example of the last of the instances just mentioned. The BB Company, as a building construction firm, is an example of the first of Koontz and Weihrich’s examples. Using any general knowledge you may have of the building industry (see also Illustration 8.17 in Unit 8) to embellish the description of the BB Company, design a matrix structure for the way the organization, as a whole, might operate. Then design a matrix structure for a division or department that deals only with the building of homes. Compare your results with those of anyone else who can be persuaded to do this. Argue the pros and cons of any differences. 1. 3. Refer back to Chapter 6 and the discussion of external and internal environmental triggers for change. Drawing on your own speculations and intuition, as well as what you can glean from the account, consider where you think the triggers for change were coming from for the organization in Illustration 7.15. How might some triggers have interacted with others? 2. If your organization (or your particular part of it) is structured into self-managing teams, what, if any, are the issues that cause the most concern? What benefits are there for managers and others? 3. If your situation is one of individualized working or managed teams, what benefits and barriers could you envisage in moving to a structure of self-managed teams? 4. Discuss, using appropriate organizational examples, how structure relates to the overall effectiveness of an organization. 5. Discuss how an organization’s structure could either help or hinder decision-making and problem-solving processes.
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