If implemented incorrectly, structural change in an organization leads to productivity slowdowns and personality conflicts. When the routine in an organization is upset, stress levels rise and interpersonal friction increases. On the other hand, taking time to create a structural change in an organization with input from all areas of the organization can help the structural change move smoothly.
When there is a structural change in an organization, leadership changes also occur. In some cases, the leadership level decreases, allowing increased movement in decision-making. For example, if an organization needs a decision approved at every level of the organization, this is time-consuming and inefficient. Conversely, if a decision only needs approval from a department head, efficiency increases.
Finding the right structure in an organization requires time and patience. The wrong structure actually prohibits growth in the organization. For example, implementing a highly structured, closely monitored system in a company needing creative freedom is not likely to work. At the same time, setting up a system that is loose and flexible for an organization needing structure and accountability also is not likely to produce desired results.
One of the key elements in a structural change is eliminating redundancy. Having too many people performing the same or similar tasks in an organization is neither efficient nor useful. In some cases, a single individual can handle multiple tasks, resulting in a structural change streamlining the organization. Part of successful structural change entails taking workers in a redundant position and placing them in new positions with other areas of responsibility.
While accountability is necessary in a successful organization, the accountability needs to be at a manageable level. If lower-level personnel report to several managers, productivity drops. Having fewer individuals oversee more workers creates a more efficient accountability system in an organization.
Vertical structure in an organization means going through multiple levels to reach a decision-maker. The more levels in the vertical structure, the more difficult it is to reach someone who can give approval. On the other hand, horizontal structure allows multiple departments to only pass through a senior department head to reach decisions or initiate policies. This results in greater fluid movement within the organization. To initiate a structural change from a vertical organization to a horizontal organization, clearly defined levels of responsibility and accountability must be provided.