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A look at the evolution of traditional organizational structure

I am re-sharing this post with updated links. There has always been pressure in workplaces to perform.

  • For nearly 50 years, organizations have been reinventing the organization chart;
  • Unlock the mindset Within traditional organizations, job descriptions and reporting relationships prescribe specific activities and relationships;
  • The relatively no-frills chart showed the functional divisions, as well as the geographical and departmental subcategories with their definitions;
  • But, this often requires an accompanying adjustment or redefinition of organizational structure;
  • The software may be a resource tool organizations increasingly depend upon to better integrate the employee base.

However, the quality and measure of that pressure has evolved significantly. With greater emphasis on ideas and innovation, organizations find themselves wondering: How can we stay on the cutting edge?

How can contributors apply their unique strengths to help organizations do so?

  • Many organizations have the potential to increase creativity mindset and motivation;
  • This shows that people are much more aligned across the organization and are contributing more;
  • The Present and Future of Org Charts How an organization is structured depends on how the company views its work processes and teams;
  • By diagramming them, not only could a sense of order and control be established, but relationships could be better understood.

While many organizations have explored strategies to facilitate cultural changes that enhance creativity — in practice, they vary considerably in their ability to do so. Many organizations have the potential to increase creativity mindset and motivation.

The Evolution of the Org Chart

But, this often requires an accompanying adjustment or redefinition of organizational structure. Without needed revisions in structure and supporting processes, positive changes are difficult to realize. Organizations are beginning to make the connection between structure, creativity and innovation. Valve — a game developer located in upstate Washington, works with a flat organizational chart that allows talent to flow freely toward the work.

As such, employees are not completely limited by reporting structure and are free to gravitate toward the projects where they can make the greatest contribution. Projects are rarely assigned, as employees determine how they dedicate their time based upon skills and interest.

Work swarming, a process quite similar to talent utilization at Valve, is not unlike the spontaneous mechanisms borrowed from nature. Discussed previously by Gartner, swarming emphasizes an organic flow of energy toward specific, needed tasks.

The Morning Blend

Ultimately, elements of swarming allow resources to focus upon a task of real importance or potential value. A dynamic often not realized in traditional, mature organizations.

Work swarming has the potential to encourage both creativity and innovation. However, there is often a general hesitancy to move away from the prescribed roles within traditional hierarchies. As such, contributors remain in their designated lines of work.

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However, we could adapt processes so it might be utilized. Unlock the mindset Within traditional organizations, job descriptions and reporting relationships prescribe specific activities and relationships.

Not unlike the 70-20-10 concept pioneered at Googleemployees would feel free to explore new projects, ideas and trends. In this way, employees could contribute to worthy projects in which they have interest; new ideas are explored and employee engagement enhanced.

Talent would flow toward projects which have the potential to support, or possibly transform an organization. The implementation of swarming components would require a clearinghouse of information concerning trending ideas, initiatives and team opportunities — possibly through an internal crowd sourcing platform — and the available talent.

  • However, we could adapt processes so it might be utilized;
  • Org charts will need to continue to evolve to make it easier to implement, deploy, train and use so employees will readily adopt it and organizations can realize ROI faster;
  • Manage your org chart for Free, forever;
  • This idea would spawn a variety of such drawings in the coming years.

In this way employees can make decisions concerning where to spend their time and team leaders could identify contributors who have both the interest and skill set to join. There are certainly logistics that would need to be addressed to modify an organizational form or structure, in this manner.

The Evolution of Work: Organizational Structure and a Culture of Creativity

However, in the case of creativity and innovation — changes to enhance these processes may prove a worthy endeavor. Moreover, contributors could find the challenge and learning experiences they require to stay happy and engaged.

A form of this post has been previously published at Talent Zoo Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. Connect with her on Twitter and Linkedin.