Fri Apr 8 06:51:39 PDT 2016

Overarching: Organization: What is the structure of the organization?


Option 1: Hierarchical
Option 2: Matrixed
Option 3: Hub and spoke
Option 4: Networked
Option 5: Composite


The organization is what it is. Please select as appropriate, hierarchical, matrixed, hub and spoke, networked, or composite and provide relevant details.


Organizations are generally structured as hierarchical, matrixed, hub and spoke, networked, or composite:

  • Hierarchical: Hierarchical structures are quite common. They are used to leverage increasing numbers of people with decreasing power and influence, lower pay rates, increasing specialization and specialized expertise, fewer privileges, and more differentiated tasks at lower levels of the hierarchy, where they perform more tactical and less strategic tasks. Dictatorships, military groups, and many companies use hierarchy. Knowledge is controlled and propaganda or similar cultural control mechanisms are used to facilitate power and influence over large numbers of people.
  • Matrixed: Matrix organizations typically involve sets of leaders associated with different aspects of the functional need. There may be financial leaders, functional leaders, project leaders, line of business leaders, and so forth. Power is distributed and strategy and tactics are shared across groups that form for tasks. Matrix organizations without central leadership or strong management communications tend to produce schizophrenic overall behaviors as individuals are forced to serve multiple masters with differing and often contradictory demands.
  • Hub and spoke: Hub and spoke structures are somewhat more rare and tend to be limited in size because of the critical role of the central leader. The central leader tends to be charismatic in nature for medium-sized organizations and may be a small business owner for smaller organizations. Power and finance are centralized and strategy and tactics are only shared as needed, typically all directed toward fulfilling the vision of the leader.
  • Networked: Networked organizations are structured with sets of key participants who take on leadership roles in select areas and many other participants who work independently but form a consensus that moves the group forward. Knowledge is widely available to anyone who wishes to seek it and strategy and tactics are developed by consensus. Pay and responsibility tend to be based on performance levels and infrastructure ownership. These organizations are often called "organic" in the way they operate, but most of them in fact have elite classes that communicate independently in cliques and use the network to their advantage by limiting access to information or selectively feeding information to the group as fits their desires. Sometimes juntas form in these sorts of groups, and these groups sometimes turn into hierarchies as size increases.
  • Composite: Most governments, large organizations, and businesses tend to be composites of these structures if viewed in detail. These are "mixed structures". For example, the government of the United States is a networked infrastructure at the topmost level with many hierarchies, hub and spoke, and matrix management structures at lower levels. The sharing of power is typically achieved by these mixed structures and each powerful individual at any level of the organization tends to build the structure that they are most familiar with or that they think is most appropriate to their needs and business function.
Copyright(c) Fred Cohen, 1988-2015 - All Rights Reserved