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Functional composition

The walls between our departments are higher than between us and our competitors. Salesman


The functional composition of an organization may consist of different departments, units, divisions, business streams or groups, but there are three main categories:

L
ine functions:  These are the areas that are directly involved in producing products or delivering services. It is these activities that contribute most to the competitiveness of an organization. Within these areas, the responsibilities of people are usually well understood. The line functions of a typical manufacturing company include purchasing, manufacturing, sales and customer service, each located in separate departments. Local government consist of departments covering housing, recycling, planning, highways, health and safety, etc.

Staff functions:  
These are specialist functional areas, which extend across the organization and help make the line functions more effective but are not directly involved with producing products or services. Typical staff functions include administration, training, personnel, legal, accounts, maintenance and medical services.

Matrix functions: 
These groups consist of people drawn from traditional functional areas (line and staff) but welded together to form a temporary  project team with its own reporting structure. The advantage is that people from different disciplines, with various skills, work together, but there is always the danger of a clash of loyalties between the project team and the individual's own department. Sometimes problems arise when the project team is disbanded and members return to their original departments or even home countries, only to find that they have lost their 'pecking order' for promotion. Organizations working in this way must give thought to how the long-term career aspirations of people are managed and protected.

Mini organizations: 
Functional areas, such as divisions, branches and departments, can be treated as mini organizations and analyzed using our model. They have their own aspects (identity, purpose, etc.) with all the attendant elements, although some elements - customers, suppliers, relationships and the target market - could be other internal departments. >>>