1. Explain the role of each of the five components of Mintzberg’s logo.
a. Strategic apex
According to the arguments of Mintzberg, a strategic apex refers to the system that is characteristic in organizations where leadership lies with the top management. In such a system, all the power lies with the top managerial staff; often one person. In this case, this controller of power could be the sole owner of the business. Such bureaucratic establishments are also characteristic with flexible, informal and basic structures comprising of few staffs or middle-line hierarchy. In such a system, decision making regarding strategy and operations, as well as the coordination of operations are run by the top management class (Bolman and Deal 103).
b. Techno structure
This structure is characteristic with machine organizations, where operations are easy and highly repetitive. In such a system, the operations are controlled and managed through the standardization of operations. The techno structure is characteristic with a group of staff investigators, who hold the role of standardizing the operation of the operations.
c. Support staff
This is the characteristic found in highly creative bureaucracies, where enterprises have adopted an innovative configuration and an institutional structure that develops creatively. The purpose of the dynamic model is bringing professionals from different disciplines and fields of operation together, as this allows for the development of unique products, responding to given markets or drawing solutions to existing problems (Bolman and Deal 127). Job specialization is founded on the professionalism of the converging experts; therefore, the coordination of operations is realized through the cooperative efforts of professionals and project managers. These managers include both functional and integrative oversight staff.
d. Middle line
This is characteristic with diversified bureaucracies, where institutions are comprised of divisions, which are held together by a basic administrative core. This organizational structure is characteristic with the private sector and influential government bureaucracies. This is the case, as it presents a diversified configuration, which presents a more amalgamated practical structure. Each of the units within the organization at its basic level, performs distinct operations, runs according to the machine model and holds control over the respective functions.
e. Operating core
This is characteristic with professional bureaucracies. Under such an organizational structure, operations are controlled through the standardization of employee knowledge and skills, which implies that the operational base comprising of the organization’s professionals is wide. Such institutions have no middle-level managers, as the managers execute complex roles as guided by their areas of expertise.
2. Carry out an internet search to develop an idea of how Home Depot operates.
a. Which of Mintzberg’s five structural types does Home Depot’s structure represent? (i.e., simple, machine bureaucracy, divisionalized bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, adhocracy.) Explain your rationale in detail.
Home Depots fall under the entrepreneurial bureaucracy classification, where major authority and control lies with the top manager, who dictates the skills required from employees, as well as the operations and duties to be executed by the organization. The Home Depot business deals with the development of products, services and affecting home improvements. The knowledge and decision-making of the enterprise centers on the strategic apex and the leaders are all engaged in the operations of the business, as they rely on this knowledge base for the formulation of new operations and strategies. The managing directors of the divisions at the Home Depot enterprise hold substantial influence, which creates a vibrant work environment (Bolman and Deal 79).
The vibrant environment offers the Home Depot enterprise, a simple decision making model and the basis for running the operations of the establishment. The board of directors at such a venture is rarely changed, as the members hold the skills and knowledge required to manage the venture; thus end up hoarding power. Record management at a Home Depot is chiefly personalized; hence vital information bases are developed and managed at the office of the top leader. The records held at the strategic apex, which may be accessed by junior level staff include those on the operations of the venture, decision making strategies, and the implementation of dynamic strategies. These are the information bases aimed at making the services or products offered by the venture more unique and better, towards gaining a competitive advantage.
b. Name two other well-known companies that employ the same structural type.
3. Visualize a small (6-person) IT project team that is given the task to re-design a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The members of the team are borrowed from different parts of the IT Department. For example, the database expert comes from the database shop and the tester is from the testing shop. One team member the specialist on the company’s business process comes from outside the IT department. Which of Mintzberg’s five structural types is this team most likely to reflect? Explain your rationale in detail.
The ERP professional’s team represents the Adhocracy or Innovative bureaucracy. This is the case when the expert members are drawn from varied parts of the IT sector. At the innovative structure, professionals are picked from varied disciplines, so that they can develop a unique product, respond to persistent market issues or offer solutions to problem areas. The structure is complex, dynamic and exceedingly organic, with limited validation of behavior (Bolman and Deal 216). This model of enterprise does not rely on the principle of standardization, towards the realization of goals. Rather, the coordination of functions is realized through negotiations amongst the various experts regarding the area and approach of execution towards realizing the common goals. This model of bureaucracy operates under the principle of supporting working; thus functions are highly decentralized among staffs.
Information and authority on decision making is concentrated around a line of staffs forming the operational core, the support staff at administrative centers, and the operational managers at the middle-level. With the ERP model, different staffs from the varied fields are required towards the realization of set goals. They are; an IT staff with extensive experience in databases for building databases, an analyst for the role of analyzing the correctness of the work done, and a computer scientist to assist in developing the program to host the database. Other experts include a testing staff to test the database, an engineer to develop a model through which the database communicates the required information to the target population, and a financial analyst to compute the total amount of exports utilized. From the varied experts required, it is clear that there is specialization and division of labor.
b. Give another (non-project) example of where this structure is appropriate.
The organizational model is suitable for ventures within the food industry. This is the case as there are a varied number of expert staffs required for optimal performance. These include quality assurance, planning management, production, testing, machinery engineers and financial experts to complement each other throughout the production process.
4. Chapter 5 in Reframing Organizations describes what the authors call a simple hierarchy. They point out that this is the structural approach used by the US White House, where White House operations are run by a chief of staff on behalf of the President.
a. What are the strengths of the chief of staff approach?
They control the flow of paperwork and people into the oval office; therefore, are able to adjust the flow in relation to the business style and the dealings of the president. Also, they hold all government top secrets, which make it difficult for unauthorized access into the systems, which would allow them access to such secrets. In the case of an emergency or the sickness of the president, they are allowed to assign the chief of staff to execute their duties.
b. What are the weaknesses of the chief of staff approach?
The chief of staff may develop selfish goals and interest. Noting that they are the ultimate advisor to the president, they may advise the president into wrong decision making. This is either to their advantage or the disadvantage of others. Further, since they are the major party allowed to present information and communication to the president, they may withhold vital information. Such a case may result in failure of offering solutions to existing problem areas (Miller 59). Considering that the chief of staff is the main communication and negotiating agent with the president’s staff and associates, including the executive, extra-government political agents, and the congress; they may lead to delays during decision-making.
c. Why is the chief of staff approach appropriate for running White House affairs?
The president is the chief of the White House. As a president is in charge of decision-making, it is necessary for him/her have an advisor (chief of staff) who can negotiate in current issues, offering them with the range of options or the final decisions drawn from key discussions. In case the chief of staff is absent, the president may find it challenging to reach decisions, control visitations, as well manage the secrets of the government (Bolman and Deal, 215).
d. Why would a chief of staff approach encounter serious problems if employed to run Toyota?
Toyota is an entrepreneurial company built upon satisfying their customers; thus subjected to constant changes in strategy and management of company business. Also, the company’s different staff levels and divisions hold different roles on the management and the development of the company. Based on the highly dynamic nature of the company and its range of business, the chief of staff may get overpowered by the recurring company changes, especially those aimed at customer satisfaction.
5. Small self-directed work teams tend to employ what Reframing Organizations calls an all-channel network. (Note: This design is similar to Helgesen’s web of inclusion as described in the Bolman and Deal book.)
a. In what sense is the all-channel network structure appropriate for use on self-directed work teams?
All channel or star networks are built in a way that allows for communication across all the different classes and levels of staff. This implies that there is a considerable level of free flow in information and decision-making, as a result of the extensive interaction amongst the different personnel and staff (Miller 57, 58). The disadvantage is that this network is slow in executing simple tasks and inefficient in completing easy tasks. However, it attains efficiency, in case the members can communicate, interact, and execute tasks as a team.
The network is most suitable and effective, when self-directed operations are difficult; thus requiring discussions amongst the different divisions and fields of the organization. For hard tasks, approaching other personnel and fields becomes necessary, so as to develop ways of completing such functions and tasks. This is also helpful in expanding the knowledge skills of staff as well as increase levels of innovation, as a result of the mass gathering of information.
b. What problems can self-directed work teams encounter when employing this structure?
When the task at hand is easy, this structure causes time wastage, as the employees can use the time offered to execute their other tasks, after deriving the easy to form answers. However, the model may cause organizational conflicts, when some personnel offer wrong information or fail to cooperate (Miller 55, 56). Further, the inability to arrive at a consensus may cause delays or conflicts during the execution of self-directed tasks.
Bolman, Lee. & Deal, Terrence. Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership Jossey-Bass business & management series Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series (3rd ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print.
Miller, Katherine. Organizational Communication: Approaches and Process (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadworth, 2009. Print