Organization structure is influenced by the culture of the organization. Brow Total (1983) coined organization culture as a system of shared values (what is important) and beliefs how things work) that interact with a company’s people, organization structures, and control systems to produce behavioral norms (the way we do things around here).
Andrew Brown (1995, 1998) stated the definition of organizational culture in his book Organizational Culture is as follows: “Organizational culture refers to the pattern of beliefs, values and learned ways of coping with experience that have developed during the course of an organization’s history, and which tend to be manifested in its material arrangements and in the behaviors of its members. ” On the other hand, Shine (AAA) sees culture as a set f psychological tendencies that among members of an organization that dictates how they think and act. Invented, discovered or developed beliefs of a group as it learns to solve its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems”. There is little doubt that the culture of the organization will directly impact on the structure of the organization, given that structure is a determinant of organizational culture. Culture plays a crucial ole in whether you organization is successful in implementing a project.
The need to recognize and manage organization culture as well as cross-culture, is important for the successful execution of a project. Cultural bottlenecks can retard the deliverables when managing project. Bottlenecks are the processes that occur when inputs come at a quicker rate than it can be converted into output. Bottlenecks can be both long term and short term. For example, if data is required from various personnel by the secretary to complete a report. If secretary is hospitalized and is unable to complete the report, this will negatively effect the project manger’s ability to produce the deliverables.
However, if the culture of the organization is that more than one project staff has updates and data, and then there is no question that, anyone of them can produce the report (Bono and Bewitch, 1989). Cultural bottleneck can cause major problems for any company, and it is important that the causes are identified and dealt with speedily. Some typical signs of cultural bottlenecks include a backlogging of work because you are awaiting someone, material or paperwork as well as high stress related to a task or a process.
Organization Culture serves two purposes, first, it creates the feeling of identity among personnel that allows a sense of commitment to the organization; and second, it help members to understand fully, the acceptable behaviors and procedures with the organization (Martins, 2000). Organization structure can be understood as the way that power and responsibilities are assigned in the organization that influence the way work procedures are carried out organization the by organization members (Gearing & Kowloon, 1992;Racket, Walker, & Roaring, 1985; Walton, 1985).
Additionally, organization structure is defined as “the network of relationships and roles existing throughout the organization”, by Goldwater et al. (1984, cited in Penn et al, 2012). Organization structure is a determinant of the successful management of a project because the structure of the organization will influence who the project leader is? Who has certain responsibilities and who makes the decisions? There are three main types of organization structures used in project management, namely, function project organization, pure project organization and matrix project organization.
THE FUNCTIONARIES ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE In the function organization structure, the firm is organized into functional units such as Account, Human Resource, Marketing, Engineering, Communications, etc. Each functional group operates independently with an isolated group of employees who report to the unit manager. In this model, project managers have very limited authority since the organization was formed for continuity of operations rather than implementing projects.
When projects are implemented within units, there appear to have very little issues. However, projects that cut across functional divisions can become problematic nice the project manager has no direct functional authority and must solicit support and cooperation from functional mangers. In the event that the firm has a project that does not fall under the direct control of a unit manager, staff will be transfer from the various units to assist the project manager.
This can create confusion since this temporary staff must report to the project manager while they continue to function in their various units. This type of organization structure is typical of a government department or ministry. Often the project manager is hired as a consultant and given temporary space with a unit or a overspent department with borrowed staff from various units. The borrowed staff is expected to serve the project manager while functioning as part of his or her unit ( Stare, 2011), (Borer, 2008).
Of course, a number of problems can result from this arrangement. Firstly, the temporary staff will function in one capacity while the other role or function suffers. Secondly, the unit manager may make unrealistic demands his usual staff that can create stress for the employee which can result in poor performance by the employee both as a project staff and unit personnel. Thirdly, there can be confusion in communication when the emperors staff is unsure who to report to.
This can cause further complications for the project manager in meeting the demands of his project schedule and remaining within the project budget. For example, the project manager may have to hire a temporary secretary or a communication specialist because the one which is temporarily assigned to the project cannot meet the demands of the project and his or her unit. This can become an additional cost that was not factored into the project budget while at the same time causing a delay in project schedule since time must now be spent on hiring new staff, writing up entrants, etcetera.
Conversely, the advantage to the project manager in the functional structure, includes, a reduction in cost for the project unit since a cohort of personnel is already available to assist in the implementation of the project. Moreover, these personnel are highly skilled and loyal to the organization. There is no need for the organization to spend money on hiring personnel that already exist within the organization. Furthermore, the temporary personnel benefits from working with another manger and may even develop new talents and learn to use new technologies (Stare, 2011), (Borer, 008).
An example of an organization with function structure is AKA Grocery. The company’s resources are structured by the functions they perform such as front end, personal care, diary and meat, etc. Walter also has a function organization structure (PM Concept 10, 2011). THE PROJECTED OR PROJECTILES ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE Another organization structure is the Projected or Projectiles organization structure in which the project manager has full authority over the project. In this structure, the project manager set priorities, apply resources as he/she sees accessory and direct the work of the team members assigned to the project.
All members of the project teach is answerable to the project manager and everyone is assigned to a project. At The end of one project, the resources are redirected to other projects. A typical example would be the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States(GOES) where the office is made up of project staff and supporting staff. Each project manager is assigned to a project and his or her project staff. Upon the successful completion of a project, the project manager is reassigned to another project. In this structure, accountability and customer interface is clearly defined.
The project manager has total control and a very effective communication channel. The manger tries to create a balance between the technical cost and the project schedule. On the other hand, this structure is limited bathe high duplicity in existing talent. Each project will require the same personnel for successful implementation. Hence, the organization would hire more than one project manager and other project staff. There is the use of much modern technology since the manger has to coordinate the project from a central location while involving all major stakeholders.
Much of the modern communication technologies will be utilized (Keep, Fax, email, teleconferencing, etc). The project manager has the autonomy to hire and fire as he or she pleases(Little, Stare , 2011). The implications of projected organization structure for project management are varied. Given that authority in centralized in this structure, the projects does not concern the functional division, hence the communication channel is shortened. There are fewer people to report to. The project staff would report to the project manager while the project manager would report to the sponsors.
As a result, the project manager can arrive at decisions quickly since the communication channel is reduced and authority is centralized. Similarly, the project team developed a strong sense of identity which manifest into a high level of commitment on their part. Besides, the organization develops highly experienced personnel with specific skill sets due to the repetitiveness of project implementation. Moreover, this structure makes it easier to execute projects since its very nature is set up for that purpose.
Some of the limitations of this model include a strong division twine the project team and the rest of the organization and the difficulty that team members have in resettling into their function units once the project is over. The Arizona Construction Company is an example of a projected organization. Most of its resources are targeted at projects with deliverables for customers. Although there are a few office workers, each foremen is a manger and is responsible for the project resources given to him or her (PM Concept 10, 2011, Martin and Turbulence, 2003), (Little, 2014).
THE MATRIX ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE Finally, the matrix organization structure is a hybrid form that combines mom characteristics both from functional and projected organization forms. The matrix structure is designed to create synergies between the project manager and the functional manager. This can be difficult to create but can be achieved if the one of the functional unit is responsible for one aspect of the project while the other aspects are outsourced or subcontracted or even other companies. The matrix approach can be weak or strong.
Fifth functional manger has more authority than the project manager, we say we have a weak matrix. However, if the project manager is recognized by the functional manager ND the unit workers are allowed to take advice from the project manager, then we have a strong matrix. This organization structure is typical of multinational companies which has both a functional and divisional unit and thus is connected by the matrix. For the most part, individuals report to different parts of the organization in order to complete a project.
Although the practice is typically associated with highly collaborative and complex project, it is still used in project management. As a rule in the matrix structure, the organization is divided into work teams. Team members may be working on multiple projects multitudinously and are answerable to more than one manager. While the function manager decides who will work in the project and what technologies will be used, the project manager decides on the tasks to be done and when these tasks will be undertaken.
This organization structure requires high level of cooperation among mangers if the project is to be successful. The major benefit of the matrix structure is that there are minimal problems with coordination because the very nature of this structure dictates that best personnel for a project forms a project team whose responsibility is to ensure the successful execution of the project. One of the drawbacks of the matrix structure is that there is high competition for resources since all the organization is implementing multiple projects at a time.
Other limitations include: the amount of time required in meetings and conflict resolution sessions, when participants experience dual authority, this can be frustrating and confusing, and this structure requires lots of effort to maintain the balance of power within the project and organization(Calibrating Jay R(2009, (Little, 2014)). Some examples of companies with the matrix structure include: MM, Proctor and Gamble, Intel, Toyota, Monika and General Electric. These are large multinational companies that implement the matrix structure successfully.
In the matrix context, people have multiple mangers, multiple priorities and multiple roles. Atypical example of this structure is in general motors where each type of vehicle is headed by a functional manager. This also brings to mind our local brewery in SST Lucia. At the brewery, each drink is headed by a manager. For example, we have The Piton brand manager in charge of a local (lager brew), the Heinlein brand manager responsible for the Heinlein brew, the Piton Malta manager responsible for the on-alcoholic drink, the Piton Raddled Brand manager, The Guinness manger, etc.
CONCLUSION One of the well held tenets of traditional institution theory is that for an organization to prosper there must be congruency in the institutional environment (Meyer and Rowan, 1977, cited in Calibrating, 2009). The structure and the services offered by the firm, must match the culture and cognitive beliefs of the staff (Meyer and Scott, 1983, cited in Calibrating, 2009). The implication is that there should be synergies among the myriad of variables that make up the organization, of which organization form and organization culture is only a ewe. Projects by themselves to do fail, the enable environment plays a critical role.
Effective managements of those enabling environment is embedded in the structure of the organization. While no structure is necessarily better than the other, the nature of the organization (that is, they types of product or service provided) will be more suitable for a particular organization form. Each structure has its benefits and limitations, thus it is up to management to decide which is best for their organization. What is critical is that organizations must provide the environment that will allow for the successful implementation of projects and the collaboration among staff.