Organizational structure can inhibit or encourage creativity and innovation. However, the problem with organizational structure is that it is the result of many factors, including history, organic growth, strategy, operational design, product diversity, logistics, marketing, customer base, supplier base, etc. Therefore, what managers need are not recipes for complete structural change, but knowledge about the properties of development structures that can be adapted to the existing structure.
To begin with, it is useful to analyze preferred versus less preferred structures. There are many definitions of organizational structure types, but an example is:
a) Mechanistic structures (generally not preferred): includes centralized control and authority, clearly defined tasks, vertical communication links, obedience to supervisors, rigidity and inflexibility.
b) Organizational structures (generally preferred): decentralization of authority, poorly defined tasks, horizontal communications, greater individual authority, flexible, adaptable.
Experience shows that this can be misleading. For example, flat organizations are generally preferred and hierarchical ones are not preferred; however, even flat organizations are actually hierarchical.
It is important to note that if we have a mechanistic structure, what factors allow us to move in the right direction without a total change?
Some answers include:
a) Direct communication links with decision makers.
b) Communication and information flow between departments.
c) Tangible progression of ideas from problem to solution, from product development to marketing.
d) Creative teams that work outside but linked to the organization, whose culture, processes, etc. they diffuse into the existing structure.
These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA Thesis on Managing Creativity and Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a DIY audit on creativity and innovation, Good Idea Generator software and Power Point presentation) at http : //www.managing- creativity.com
Kal Bishop, MBA
You can reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author’s name and site URL are preserved.
Please rate this article below.