Mar 20, 2010

Process Vs Functional Organization

Organization structure is one of the key levers available to a leader wanting to make improvements in the organization.A key trend that we see today is the move to 'process based ' or even more a matrix organizations. In the case of matrix organizations also , process tend to be one of the axes.

I do a lot of work in IT function improvement.Many clients are today implementing ITIL as an approach to bring visibility and improvement on the support side of IT. When implementing ITIL, a key struggle has been deciding the balance between the existing functional roles ( say a help desk manager) and the 'newly' introduced process roles (say a incident manager).

In the book,'Designing organizations' ;Jay R Galbraith (2002 Jossey Bass) talks about the type of lateral processes based on management time and difficulty. He talks about various levels : Voluntary and informal group, e- coordination,formal group (ranging from simple to multidimensional and hierarchical),integrator (full time by roles or departments) and finally a matrix organization.

Organizations wanting to implement ITIL are also faced with similar choices. As shown in figure above, they need to make a choice on the level of authority for the newly introduced roles. From a simple  reporting (Weather station) sort of roles (which would then be allotted on a part time basis to an existing functional role) organizations mature and evolve to provide more authority and control to process functions. There exists no perfect answer to where the balance of power resides !

What does all your experience suggest?

1 comment:

  1. Processes does not necessarily defeat the purpose of a Functional aspects. In my experience, Functional activities are necessarily refined, redesigned and improved by applying processes into it.