Functional Organizations

One common type of organization is the functional organization. Chances are you have worked in this type of organization. This is probably the oldest style of organization and is therefore known as the traditional approach to organizing businesses.

Functional organizations are centered on specialties and grouped by function, which is why it's called functional organization. As an example, the organization might have a human resources department, finance department, marketing department, and so on. The work in these departments is specialized and requires people who have the skill sets and experiences in these specialized functions to perform specific duties for the department. Figure 1.2 shows a typical organizational chart for a functional organization.

You can see that this type of organization is set up to be a hierarchy. Staff personnel report to managers who report to department heads who report to vice presidents who report to the CEO. In other words, each employee reports to only one manager; ultimately, one person at the top is in charge. Many companies today, as well as governmental agencies, are structured in a hierarchical fashion. In organizations like this, be aware of the chain of command. A strict chain of command might exist, and the corporate culture might dictate that you follow it. Roughly translated: Don't talk to the big boss without first talking to your boss who talks to their boss who talks to the big boss. Wise project managers should determine whether there is a chain of command, how strictly it's enforced, and how the chain is linked before venturing outside it.

FIGURE 1.2 Functional organizational chart

FIGURE 1.2 Functional organizational chart

Each department or group in a functional organization is managed independently and has a limited span of control. Marketing doesn't run the finance department or its projects, for example. The marketing department is concerned with its own functions and projects. If it were necessary for the marketing department to get input from the finance department on a project, the marketing team members would follow the chain of command. A marketing manager would speak to a manager in finance to get the needed information and then pass it back down to the project team.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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