Every organization makes efforts to have a proper and systematic organizational structure to increase its efficiency and productivity. Such efforts alone can help in raising sales and net profits of companies and help them prosper. In a flexible organizational structure, workers are able to deliver good quality work by understanding and meeting client requirements and taking good decisions at the right time. This structure aims at providing more freedom to employees and help them take part in the working of the company without being mere spectators.
Flexibility in Organizations
Flexibility in organizations is necessary for providing them a decent and conducive work environment. A flexible organization does not have any unwanted or unnecessary restrictions or rules that can have a negative effect on the morale of the employees. A flexible organizational structure aims at making work fun and enjoyable and easier for the workers. The following are the kinds of flexibility in a flexible organizational structure:
- Location flexibility
- Skills flexibility
- Work pattern flexibility
- Legal flexibility
- Job flexibility
Location flexibility would enable employees to work from the location of their choice whereas work pattern flexibility and job flexibility will help them do job at which they are good at. An organization with legal flexibility can make some management and structural changes which are essential for the firm's growth. Flexible structures can be the best way for speeding up the learning process. Skills flexibility allows the organization to bring an employee working on a different task-work on special projects so that his ability can prove to be useful in completing a project successfully. However, what has been observed that a high level of employee commitment and dedication is required for running such a structure.
Though there are many advantages of flexible structure, there are also some problems associated with it. According to experts, excessive freedom can lead to lower level of commitment and loyalty issues by the employees and some amount of in discipline in work. If this happens, then the organization would be at the losing side. Many times, in such a structure, individual achievements get more importance than the success of the entire team. This means that employees work for their own success ,and not for the team or company. In the long run, such kind of working style can be disastrous and affect the performance of the firm.
Flexible Organization Characteristics
- Increased coordination between senior management and junior level staff
- Providing services in different geographical areas of the country
- Existence of special purpose teams that can be dissolved after target competition
- Improved efficiency and complete customer satisfaction
Flat Organizational Structure
The flat organizational structure is definitely one of the finest examples of flexible organizational structure. In this structure, there are very few positions between the junior level employees and the management of the company. Because of this, there is an active dialog between the employees and the senior management. The process of learning and understanding one's mistakes/drawbacks becomes much simpler with the flat organizational structure.
Employees in a flat organizational structure actively participate in decision-making which helps them learn principles of management effectively. Flat organizational structure helps save a lot of time due to less number of middlemen between employees and management. This would be the best organizational structure for a company which is very cautious about administration and managing costs as the costs are a minimum in this case.
Special Purpose Teams
Special purpose teams are created with a special purpose in mind. Many times, the existing organizational structure or existing teams may not be sufficient to tackle some projects. The project competition may require some more skills which only a few members in the organization have. In such cases, a special team is created which will exclusively work on that particular project till it is completely done. An experienced and highly qualified person is given the post of the director in such teams. Since these teams are prepared for some special project completion, they may be dissolved by the senior management of the company when the purpose of the team creation is served. This makes this organizational structure a flexible one.
Geographical Organizational Structure
The geographical organizational structure is one of the most prominently flexible ones. This structure is created by firms to cater to the needs of the customers having varied buying interests. With the help of a geographical organizational structure, companies can sell their products in select markets where the units of the company are already existing. In this structure, employees who are hired for projects are residents who are more familiar with the nature of customers and problems in marketing as compared to employees from other parts of the country. So, naturally, the level of efficiency of operations increases tremendously. Every company today wishes to know how its performance in each market is and with the help of a geographical organizational structure, this can become relatively easier.
These three are the main types of flexible organizational structures which are being used extensively in the corporate world today. Cost reduction, increased production, rising sales and profits, increased market share, and more acceptance of company products from consumers through understanding of user interests, are the results of a flexible organizational structure. Companies having such a structure are sure to out perform those with faulty organizational structures. So, finally, modern-day HR managers need to consider these points to take their organizations to their desired heights of success.