An Examination of Organisational Structures
In the world of organisational management, the approach to structure can differ widely. Broadly, three significant types can be identified: classic hierarchical, matrix, and projectised structures. Each has its own advantages, disadvantages, and can considerably influence the accomplishment of project objectives.
The Classic Hierarchical Structure
The hierarchical structure, also known as a functional hierarchy, operates on a direct reporting model where every team member reports to a single project manager. The critical aspect to consider in this structure is that projects may not be the central focus, often making it challenging for projects to achieve success.
In such an environment, the project managers may lack the required authority as it is held by functional managers who typically control aspects like the project budget. Project resources, in this case, become a hurdle, as they primarily report to functional managers. It forces project managers and their team members to balance their attention between ordinary tasks and project-related responsibilities.
The Matrix Organisational Structure
The matrix structure, though still positioned in a functional hierarchy, supports projects to a greater extent compared to pure hierarchies. The power to make decisions and the priority given to projects can range from weak to strong, thereby establishing a weak, balanced, or strong matrix structure.
Within this structure, decision-making authority rests with both the project manager and functional manager. This can result in teams reporting to two managers, a challenging dynamic. In more robust matrix setups, all players, from project managers to administrative staff, dedicate their full attention to the project.
The Projectised Organisational Structure
As the name suggests, in a projectised organisational structure, projects are king. This fully project-oriented approach offers a conducive environment for project managers to meet their objectives. With this structure, project managers have almost complete authority over crucial aspects of the project, such as budgeting.
The resources allocated for the project are solely devoted to it, reporting directly to the project manager. Everyone associated with the project will be fully immersed in it, from project managers to the admin staff, reducing the risk of divided attention.
The Influence of Organizational Structure
The choice of an organizational structure has profound implications for the performance of individual projects. The choice of structure can directly affect how much the project managerial team can do and how easily they can ensure the success of projects, be it in budgeting, complying with dates, or generating desired outcomes.
Careful consideration is needed when deciding which structure is most suitable for an organisation. The choice will profoundly impact project performance, the project manager’s role, and the success chances of any undertaken projects. An incorrect organisational structure can lead to confusion and underperformance, which, while not irreversible, can be disruptive if a restructuring is necessary.
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