Elena Haidukova is an Online Marketing Manager at Comindware Inc., and a passionate advocate for empowering executive managers onward to workflow automation and running their businesses effectively.
Organizational Structure and Workflow Design
Blog: Comindware Blog
Workflow design and analysis are two things that will go hand in hand in managing business functions, planning, and goals. It is imperative to understand how a task is completed, the steps that are involved, as well as the parties that are assigned, said tasks.
The organizational structure breaks down labor within an organization. This may be into teams or different departments and this information can be incredibly useful in helping create a more efficient and thoughtful workflow design that will improve productivity and outcomes.
What is the Relationship Between Organizational Structure and Workflow?
It can be said that workflow analysis and design are the microelements of the more macro-organizational structure. Let’s break this down a little more.
There are horizontal and vertical organizational structures. These will denote the relationships between departments and management within each department.
The people who power the organizational structure are the people who will be relied upon to carry out workflows for various business functions. It allows management to better streamline operations, reduce redundancy in tasks, and create greater transparency in responsibility and reporting chains.
All businesses have a division of labor that denotes different specialties, responsibilities, and levels of authority. A good structure has all labor well organized into groups or departments that can then be subdivided to work on particular projects or tasks. These smaller groups will then report their work and result back up the chain.
Since workflows will often entail interdependencies between different parts of the organizational structure, you will need a good workflow design and this can best be handled through the implementation of well-developed workflow automation software. Offerings like Comindware Tracker give you a wide range of options that let you customize the software and use the tools to design efficient and logical workflows that will help you complete projects and reach goals easier.
Types of Organizational Structures
There are a few main types of organizational structure: functional, divisional, hybrid, and matrix-like, and oriented-process structures. Let’s take a brief look at each of these in turn.
A functional structure delegates processes to employees or team members that handle related tasks. For a workplace that has a stable workforce, this is a great way to organize routines that make organizing tasks easier and more efficient.
Divisional structures involve grouping people or tasks based on factors like the product or service being developed or the region of the world or country they are working in. This will group people based on a product or location.
A hybrid structure is one in which both product/service and location are used in developing the division of labor in the organization.
Matrix-like structures use both functional and divisional structures at the same time. This generally means that a lower employee will report to both a function and product manager.
Finally, oriented-process structures provide the most versatile way to manage organizational structure. Units work together towards a common project goal and are categorized as such.
The type of organizational structure you use will depend on the nature of your business. However, whichever type of structure ends up working best for you, will help create a workable division of labor that dictates who works on what task and also determines the reporting and authority chain. This division of labor can also make it easier to create thoughtful workflow designs that utilize technology and organizational know-how to better organize the company and ensure that tasks are completed in an effective and efficient manner.
Designing a quality workflow that takes into account the varied nature of your particular organizational structure will help ensure that you complete the project faster, the correct parties are involved and in the proverbial loop about where a project stands and what is expected of them. Utilizing workflow automation software in this process can further reduce the amount of time spent on redundant or time-consuming tasks and can help a company become better organized and develop strategies that help them more effectively reach their goals.
Businesses that understand the complex, but important relationship between organizational structure and workflow design can use this information to develop a more logical and useful organizational structure and develop workflow strategies that will best prepare employees to reach strategic goals and plans.