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Structure Pros and Cons


In your assigned groups, for each party guest listed below, try to:

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Identify the organizational structure (or structures) being described. Try to sketch it out on an imaginary cocktail napkin.
Based on what you now know about the advantages and disadvantages of organizational structure choices, explain to your fellow guest what you think are the likely problems that the organization suffers from. Begin your response with: “It sounds like you are organized in a _____ structure. You are probably very successful in doing ______. I would imagine that you have challenges with _____.”

Party Guest #1
“I am the vice president of an internal IT support group. We support the rest of the company with its information technology development needs. So if someone needs a customized application, a new website, or some IT work done, they call us. We have a group of business analysts assigned to support each function in the company (sales, services, product development, HR, and so on). These internal customers are very demanding and have unique needs. Our analysts work to understand their business, and they scope the projects based on their understanding of the outcomes. Then they hand off the projects with the scope document to the project management group to lead. The PM has the scope document from the customer, and works to form a team from the applications, website, and quality and test groups to deliver the customer’s request. The business analyst still maintains the primary relationship with the customer, so if the scope changes, the timeline can’t be delivered, or the customer isn’t happy, the business analyst plays the primary liaison role.”
Party Guest #2
“I lead a financial services consulting business in the midwestern U.S. We currently have 22 on-site consulting operations centers that we lease inside chain discount stores, but we also have a national for fee telephone service where we can help customers over the phone. The way it works is that we help consumers on a walk-in basis for a fee with setting up and managing investment accounts, financial planning, and doing tax returns. We also have a subscription service where consumers can buy hourly access to consulting services via a 1-800 number to get basic questions answered, such as “what’s the difference between different kinds of retirement accounts,” and “Do I qualify for a certain tax deduction?”
Party Guest #3
“We are the sales organization for a national manufacturer and installer of solar energy products. I have five sales leads reporting to me representing our four different sales geographies, plus a separate group for federal accounts, since those take government clearance and government customers tend to have special needs. Each region is usually broken down into subregions (for the east, for example, they have a territory representing the upper east consisting of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, a mid-Atlantic region of Virginia and Maryland, and so on). Each region has its own local human resources, administration, and finance support, though all regions use the same order management system to place customer orders.”
Party Guest #4
“I’m the head of our quality division. Reporting to me are several groups. First, there are five leaders who run our test engineering programs, making sure that what comes out of manufacturing meets the specs that we have for our products. There is also a training group conducts all of our safety and quality training for our manufacturing division. I also have a policy group that determines all of our quality policies and creates documentation and standards for our processes. They also lead our compliance activities when we have to create reports for ISO 14001 certification or EWRA (Electronic Waste and Recycling Act). Last, I have a machinery division that creates the tools that the test engineers use to test our products in the final test stages.”

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