An organization design is an ongoing challenge for every manager because it constantly struggles to protect the organization and keep it competitive, despite the unstable economy and the ever-changing nature of any business. However, a remarkable facet of an effectual design is that its process is, in the simplest sense, a set of cascading tasks that allows managers to go through step-by-step methods in a clear and straightforward manner. It begins with the corporate level and goes down to departmental levels.
Basically, a design is an ongoing challenge yet because of how it is created, the process is not as daunting or as complicated as it seems. For an organization design to be useful and effective, it has to have the essential characteristics, which are: simplicity, flexibility, reliability, economy, and acceptability.
Simplicity, Flexibility, and Reliability
Creating a design is not all about having the most number of boxes and dotted lines in the organizational chart. On the contrary, a simple design is more advantageous to the organization because it eliminates the need of having to go over a single function which has several components with very confusing connections. In a way, it is always more efficient for a process to require only a few steps, instead of many.
In order to make a design simple, it is necessary to use clear and specific definitions of each function, and outline the underlying tasks below it. Although there are organizations whose nature of business is filled with many complexities, keeping each subsystem simple will never fail to make it more effective.
Flexibility is another important characteristic of a good organizational design. As mentioned, there will always be a need to make changes in order to keep up with the rest, and as such, managers should be equipped with the necessary tools and systems to make each transition smooth, without affecting operations. Therefore, a design must be flexible enough to allow variations and changes whenever the need for it arises.
Reliability is also something to consider because without it, an organization cannot expect consistency in operations. To be able to create a reliable design, managers should select and arrange the various components well, ensuring that there will be no weak segment. If there are gaps in between, there has to be contingency plans or guidelines that will be able to address them, accordingly.
Economy and Acceptability
A design does not really require for operations to be low-cost, but it does require it to be cost-effective. What this means is that in cases wherein the organization can minimize on expenses, there has to be a trade-off that will guarantee effectiveness and efficiency despite being able to achieve a given task with only very minimal expenses. However, when the objective clearly indicates that there is no limit set for a particular task, then there is no need to focus on economy but instead, should solely center on the most effective means of achieving the objectives, regardless of cost.
The last essential characteristic of an organization design is acceptability. This is something that every manager must always take into consideration because no matter how good a design may be, if the people who will use it refuse acceptance, it would be a useless design. This is because they would either modify it on their own, or would use it incorrectly, thereby making it ineffective. The people in the organization need to understand the essence of the design and how it can help them and the organization achieve their goals.
Significance of the Organization Design Characteristics
It is difficult to imagine an organization design that does not possess the above mentioned characteristics. Consider a design full of complex diagrams and vague descriptions of each function and responsibility. Having to analyze and understand each one will take time and this reduces efficiency. What about a design that is too rigid that it can no longer be useful when a major change in the organization takes place? This means a whole new design needs to be created all over again. Too many things could go wrong if the characteristics are not present in an organization design, which only goes to show that they are valuable and instrumental to the effectiveness of the design.