Management Analysis in Public Organizations: History, Concepts, and Techniques

By Ray C. Oman; Stephen L. Damours et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Organizational Structure: The Skeleton

In the work of management analysts, one function is almost always present: dealing with issues of organizational structure. Documenting structures and functions of organizations, studying structures and recommending alternatives, and guiding and facilitating the process of organizational change are all among the most traditional and pervasive functions of management analysts. This chapter looks at organizational structure as something that is always present, whether consciously or not, in human cooperation and particularly in management. It then looks at the management analyst's role and contribution as a potentially valuable element in the frequent upheavals and structural changes in large organizations. The chapter concludes by surveying some of the diversity of structural principles or patterns that are found in large modern organizations. It speaks to the needed flexibility in the management analyst's approach in dealing with the variety of structuring principles.


THE BASIC PROBLEMS OF COOPERATION

When people work together cooperatively, they are inevitably confronted with a problem: who will do what work and who will make what kinds of decisions? The very act of working together implies that a prior problem has already been solved at least partially: agreement on a goal or objective. However, goals and objectives have a way of shifting over time as circumstances change and tend to recur as problems unless the project or cooperative effort is simple and short-lived.

The process of solving these basic problems of deciding what needs

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