Organizational Structure and Design

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A good, solid structure within an organization is a sure way to attain success. In every organization there will be levels, or a hierarchy, of the individuals who work there from the owner or president all the way down to minimum wage employees. The organization can also be broken down into other components such as the horizontal span of levels, the specific functions and tasks performed, regions or territories where operations are carried out, and the type of product being manufactured or provided. Along with these complexities, organizations are formalized and centralized to differing extents. The more policies and procedures that are implemented, the more formalized a company is. Similarly, when decisions are made from a single point, the organization is considered to be more centralized. During high school I worked at my club gymnastics training facility. I was a recreational coach for children ages 2-10. I started out as a minimum wage employee at the very bottom of the totem pole. The goal of our organization was to provide exceptional gymnastics instruction for abilities of all ages. The ultimate goal was to "create life's champions." We had many policies and rules that we were keep in mind when we coached our athletes as well as strict lesson plans to follow for each class. We were evaluated biannually which provided us with detailed feedback on our performance and what we could do to improve. All of the training and communication came primarily from the more experienced coaches; almost no information came directly from the owner (past the hiring process). Obviously the organization was very formalized with clear expectations and ways to attain our goals. Along with being formalized, our club was also highly centralized. All of the decisions were made by the owner and were carried out by us, the coaching staff. Whatever the owner said stood without any of our opinions. She never took our ideas into consideration or even asked for our input. One would think that since we are the people directly involved in providing our services to the customers that we would be more highly valued in the organization. After some time, the owner fired one of the assistant coaches of the girls' competitive team who also happened to be my coach of nine years. She never gave us a legitimate reason for her abrupt action, which caused a huge amount of turmoil and anger within the coaching staff and the girls' team. I along with several of my teammates who also worked as recreational coaches at the club drafted a letter to the owner with our two weeks notice for resignation. Our reasoning was that we did not feel empowered or included in any way in terms of making decisions for the organization, we did not feel valued for the hard work we put in, and we were frightened and upset by what had happened to my coach because the same fate might befall us as well. Being team members as well, that same group of girls and I organized a walk-out at the start of our scheduled practice to show how strongly we felt about what had happened. We conducted our own training session beyond the property and had dinner with our previously employed coach after. She was touched by our loyalty to her and our courage for standing up to our unfair boss. This just shows that too much formalization and centralization within an organization in addition to levels that are spread so far apart that some are not attainable by lower-level employees will cause dissention and unease in an organization.