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Organisational Structures and Roles

Organisational Structures and Roles

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Published by: tamuagung on Jun 29, 2011
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Organisational structures and roles
Introduction: the nature and purpose of organisational structure
Strukture refers to the formal pattern of relationship between people in organisations. Itexpresses the ways in which people relate to each other in order to achieve organisationalobjectives. ONeills (1994, p.109) definition captures the main features of structure andshows its relationship with the concept of role: structure embodies a formal description of roles, authority, relationship and fositions within theorganisation.everard and morris (1996, p.x) also demonstrate the links between structureand roles: An organisations structure embraces the organisation chart, the commitees, thedepartments, the roles, [and] the hierarchical levels and authority.Structure is often represented by diagrams or charts which show the authorisedpatternof relationship between members of the organisations. However, there is a tensionbetween the focus on structure and the individual charactristics which people bring to theirworkplaces. If structureis regarded as a framework for individual role holders, it must alsoreflect the perspectives of these individuals. As lumby (2011,p.82) suggests, the veryconcept of an organisational structure is froblematic, as the organisation is a theoreticalconcept which existes in reality only as a set of buildings and people  whatever thestructure on paper, the reality will be a maelstrom of lossely connected beliefs andactivities. Despite this recognition of the importance, and variability, of individuals, allorganisations have some form of structure which is recognisable and frovides theframework for organisational activity. Lumby (2001,p.83) extends the notion of structure toembrace the external environment which interacts with the organisation and may enable orconstrain its activities.Mullins (1989, p.113) stresses that structure provides a means of improvingorganisational The economic and effcient performance of the organisation.1.
 
Monitoring the activities of the organisation.2.
 
Accountability for areas of work undertaken by groups and individuals.3.
 
Co-ordination of different parts of the organisation.
 
4.
 
Flexibility in responding to future demands and developments, and in adapting tochanging environmental influences.5.
 
The social satisfaction of people working in the organistion.Fidler (1997) argues that structures have two overarching purposes, control andcordination, and both these dimensions are evident in mullinss (1989) list. Structures areoften tightened in an attempt to achieve greater control. Changing school managementstructures is one of the ways in which new heads can exert their influ ones over the schoolor college. However, creativity is more likely to be encouraged with a looser frameworkdesigned to co-ordinate rather then to control. Fullan(1999,p.5) notes that too little strucperformance. He identifies six objectives of structure creates chaos while too much leadsto grid-lock.lumby (2001,p.85) concludes that any structure will be a compromise whichcannot acheve all that is required. It may be necessary to identify the primary
S
tructures And Hierarchy
An abiding feature of strukture is it emphasis on hierarchy. Organisation are almost alwaysportrayed in terms of a vertical, or pyramidal, structures. Briggss ( 2002, p.66) generalisedhierarchy of management team but superordinate to staff working in their teams. Harper(2000) also emphasises the dominance of hierarchy in english further education. Her studyof 107 suchcoleges leads her to conclude thatone broad type of structure has becomedominant whichhas become labelled as the new college hierarchy (p.434)In the new college hierarchy are identical. However, the com-mon features are tgat thesenior manager, each accuntabli for ontions are centralised and ( p. 434)Lumbys (2001) work in this sector sugest that the hierarchy is being modified ascollege principals respond to fundingconstrain. Management postshave been deleted,leading to flatter organisation (p.86) shee adds that the need for respon requaried toprovide cretivity and innovation:Organisational structures tend to get in the way of this process. The more hierarchic,bureaucratic and sectionalised they are, the more obstructive they tend To beself-organising units with their high level of autonomy are likely to be able to respond to the
 
external and internal envitonment mre swiftly and also motivate staff more effectively.(pp.87-8)Despite this need, lumby ( 2001,p.29) notes thatsome degree of bureaucratic hierarchy willalways assert itself and that structural changes is often presented as a way ofsoftening therather negative connotations of hieararchy (p.91).The pervasiveness of hierarchy is demonstrated by its prevalence in otherd sectorsof education. Smith ( 2002) joins wath deem (1998) to note that higher education structuresare highly managerial and bureaucratic, notably in the new, or statutory, universities.Wallace and halls ( 1994) study of secondary school management teams also shows thesignificance of hierarchy. Within such teams, distinctions between levels of individualmanagement responsibility variably reflexted the for- mal status hierarchy within eachteam ( p.50). they identify four such status levels:® head® deputy heads® other profrsional staff ® bursars or administrator( Wallace and hall 1994, p.51).Head are supeodinate because of their overall responsibility for the school, leading to amajor hierarchical distinction (p.52) at one school, while the mostsenior deputy acted inthe heads absence, contributing to a perception of hierarchy (p.52) hierarchy may also bemanifested in a two tier approach as at longrise where only the most senior staff attendedcertan meetings, leading to less senior staff feeling excluded from the inner cabinet. Bursarsare perceived to be at the base of the hierarchy:The most clear cut hierarchical distinction perated between the senior administrativeofficer at drake, the bursar at underhill and senior teaching staff in these two SMTs. Theywere not members of the SMT was limited they did ot attend all SMT meeting andtheir invlvenment in major policy decision was largely restricted to considering thefinancial or administrative implications of proposals for action. ( p.54)This research demonsrates that, even in ostensibly collaborative frameworks, such as teams,hierarchy remains a powerful determinant of structure and process (seechapter 8)Hierarchy is also a dominant feature of structure in many other countries. In southAfrica, for example, there are six levels external to the school and powerful bureaucratiocconstrains on the nature of internal structures ( bush 2003a.) similary, bush et al. ( 1989)note that in china there is a complex and elaborate structure with five separate levels

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