What is meant by organisation structure?

An organisation's structure is the manner in which the workforce of the organisation is organised into specific job roles and responsibilities to undertake work to accomplish the organisation's mission.

Another way of looking at organisation structure is to think about the total of work that is done by the organisation and then to envisage that this work must be divided up among the workforce in some manner. One common method by which the total of work is divided up is according to business function. In a manufacturing company, for example, business functions might include Production, Marketing, Sales, Administration, Maintenance, Human Resources, etc. Then people are employed at various levels to ensure each function is carried out.

There are multiple ways an organisation can be structured to accomplish its mission. Factors to consider in developing an organisation structure include: type of organisation (profit business or non-profit organisation), scale of operations (large, medium or small), key business functions and business philosophy.

Let's look at the organisation structure of a typical non-profit sport organisation and the discuss some of the features:

Organisation Structure showing levels of paid and voluntary staff

The above diagram illustrates that there are three important layers of the structure.

It is important to understand that the manner in which work is divided up among the people of the organisation is purely arbitrary. There will be differences between similar organisations.

Different organisation structures suit different types of organisations. The organisation structure of a non-profit organisation can be very different to a for-profit organisation.

Some more examples of organisation structures can been seen below. The organisation structure of a major football club depicted below was drawn from a real example.

Typical Sport Club (not-for-profit enterprise)

organisation structure of a non-profit sport club.


Major Football Club (for-profit enterprise)

Example of a organisation structure for a major football club (professional, for-profit enterprise)

There is no perfect solution to developing an organisation structure. There is always change and therefore organisation management must review the structure of the organisation and modify as necessary.

Some factors that impact on organisation structure are listed below.

The mission of the organisation

An organisation with a mission to provide service will be structured differently to an organisation that exists primarily to sell products.An organisation that is a non-profit organisation will be structured differently to an organisation that is a for-profit business.

The priorities of the organisation

Managing an organisation is about dealing with the problem that there is always too much to do and too few staff to carry out the work. Management must determine which tasks are most important and assign personnel to them. Therefore the organisation structure will depend on what decisions have been made by management with respect to priorities.

Goals and objectives to be achieved

Statements of "Goals" and "Objectives" represent what the organisation wants to achieve. They change from time to time as a result of the changing environment in which the organisation lives. As Goals and Objectives change so will the organisation's structure.

Available people

Generally the human resources of any organisation is the key factor determining success. With enough good people, organisations can achieve all that is desired. However finding good people is often very difficult, especially when you need them as volunteers (unpaid) in non-profit organisations. It is often the case that priorities, goals and objectives and funding are determined according to what "good people" can be found,

Financial resources available

Organisations cannot solve problems by simply employing more people, if only this was the case! The number of paid people in an organisation is limited by the availability of funding. Even when organisations rely on volunteers, the need for money does not subside.

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