BACHELOR OF ARCHIVES AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT J MODULE: PROFESIONAL COMMUNICATION MODULE FACILITATOR: MRS J. M TOPIC: USING A CLEAR ORGANIZATIONAL CHART, DISCUSS FUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE NB: YOUR DISCUSSION SHOULD INCLUDE (i) HOW COMMUNICATION FLOWS IN THAT ORGANIZATION (ii) (iii) ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES. INTRODUCTION Organizational structure is the method by which work flows through an organization. It allows groups to work together within their individual functions to manage task. In matching structure with strategy, David (2011) state that a change in strategy usually needs a change in the manner an organization is structured. It is the structure of the organization that will determine how objectives and policies will be set. “Objectives and policies established under a functional organizational structure are couched in functional terms”. There are four main types of organizational structure one of them being the functional organizational structure that will be discussed including how communication flows together with advantages, disadvantages of functional structure. A functional organizational structure is used to organize/classify workers and employees. These are grouped according to the specific skillsets they possess. Based on their specific skills and knowledge. With each skillset employees, a different department or function is formed. And thus the role of each department is defined which is different from other departments like HR, finance, operations, etc. COMMUNICATION FLOWS IN FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURE Communication is the transmission of information so that the recipient understands clearly what the sender intend (Moore 2002). An effective organizational communication is where the intent of the sender is achieved. Communication plays a key role which ensures effective in management and organization. Adler & Elmhost (2002) assert that everybody in the work communicate. Formal communication is encouraged in every organization in order to avoid grapevine. Ojukwu (2004) asserts that the flow of communication in organization may be classified into vertical (downward and upward), horizontal and diagonal channels. According to Ojukwu, vertical communication flows downward and upward. It recognizes that with an organization information may flow from superior to a subordinate vice versa. In the downward communication, messages come from the management to the subordinates in the organization hierarchy. This may include order, job instruction, rules, directives, promotion, discipline etc. Response comes from the subordinates to the management in upward communication, this may include suggestion, reports, grievances, recommendation and thoughts. ADVANTAGES OF FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURE When employees are allowed to focus on one specific area to the exclusion of all else, they can achieve significant efficiencies in terms of process flow and management methods. As a principal advantage, it seems logical to have a department that consists of experts in a particular field such as accounting or product Gibson et al (2003). By having departments of specialist, management creates efficient units. The team members work with other people from their own field. A record manager is generally more efficient when working with other records managers and other individuals who have similar backgrounds and interest. They can share expertise to get the work done. Besides there is a very clear chain of command in this structure, so everyone knows what decisions they are allowed to make and who to report to and the number of employees reporting to you. With functional structure, it is easier to set career paths and programs for employees implementing them through promotions and monitor their progress toward the goals outlined for their functional areas. Through structure an organization can nurture a crop of extraordinary specialist who can contribute immensely to organizations well-being and growth. According to Anthony & Govindarajan (2004), the basis for the functional structure of organization is on the idea of a manager who brings specialized knowledge to bear on decisions related to a specific function as contrasted with the general purpose manager who lacks the specialized knowledge. “A skilled marketing manager and a skilled production manager are likely to make better decisions in their respective fields than would a manager responsible for both functions”. In addition, Weihrich & Koontz (2005) list the following as advantages of functional organizational structure: logical reflection of functions, maintains power and prestige of major functions, follows principle of occupational specialization, simplifies training and furnishes means of tight control at the top. DISADVANTAGES OF FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURE Regardless of the advantages of the functional structure, there are some disadvantages involved. Usually before decisions are reached, even for unimportant and routine matters, files must pass though certain officers in the chain, even when little or no value would be added. This forth and back processes will unintentionally delay jobs. Sometimes it is difficult to lay responsibility for an action on a particular employee when inputs must be made by so many individuals before a final decision is made. Nobody will claim responsibility. With so many specialist involved in a process, it is difficult to pin the blame for a specific product or service malfunction on any individual. Another disadvantage is the tendency towards poor communication across the various functional areas within an organization, potentially decreasing flexibility and innovation. Besides, functional areas may have difficulties working with other functional areas. There is often a perception that they are competing with other functional areas for resources and lack of understanding what others areas do for the organization. Records Management Unit for example, may be upset that its request for additional staff was turned down, but the company financial results point to a need for additional sales people rather than Records personnel. Another disadvantage is taking decision at the functional structure could be time-consuming and frustrating. “Taking the issue up through several levels in the organization and then communicating the decision down to the level where it originated can be time-consuming and frustrating” Anthony & Govindarajan (2004). Weihrich & Koontz (2005) sum up the disadvantages of the functional organization thus: de-emphasis overall company objectives , reduces coordination between function, responsibility for profits is at the top only, slow adaptation to changes in the environment and limits development of general managers. CONCLUSION A functional organizational structure is a structure that consists of activities such as coordination, supervision and task allocation, all grouped according to functions in departments. Simplicity and ease of administration coupled with efficiency are the major advantages of the functional organizational structure. Meanwhile, challenges are abound, a major one being departments have difficulties working with other functional areas. Notwithstanding the drawbacks, a key remedy is the adoption of coordinated effort and cross functional teams. Use of committees and standing will go a long way in improving communication in functional outfits. REFERENCES Adler, B.R., and Elmhorst, M.J. (2002). Communication at work: Principles and practices for business and the professions. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 7th ed. 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York. P 7 Anthony, R. N. & Govindarajan, V. (2004). Management control systems (11th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin David, F.R. (2011). Strategic management: Concepts and cases. (13th ed.) Pearson education, Inc: Florence, South Carolina. Gibson, J. L., Ivancevich,J. M., Donnlly Jr, J.H. & Konopaske, R. (2003). Organizations: Behavior, structure, processes. (11th ed.) Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin Moore, D.R. (2002). 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