Why you need an organizational structure

And how you can visualize it

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Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. Be it a large enterprise, an NGO, a city, a sports club, or a congregation – all of them are a type of organization. The main idea behind such organizations is to unite people who have a common goal. As an organization’s size grows, the need for more structure and greater guidance increases to maximize employee harmony and effectiveness.
Enter: The organization structure. Creating such an overview of the organization’s composition, the connection between each member and the roles they serve is one of the first go-to measures we recommend in order to drive organizational clarity.

Types of organization structures

Depending on an organization’s size, vision and requirements, the structure type may vary. In general, the overview provided through an org structure should at least inform about the organization’s size, the chain of command, a person’s span of control as well as their responsibilities or roles. Below are the most popular methods to organize your members or employees.

Hierarchical organization structure

The most common org structure is the hierarchical structure. When looking at an org chart of this type, you will find all levels of the organization arranged from the top, starting with upper management, to the bottom. The greater the responsibility, the higher the level.
Now, depending on your organization’s requirements, this structure could show only positions; or it could show positions and the employees filling them. Alternatively, it could show business units with the corresponding positions and the associated employees and therefore represent a function-based hierarchy structure.

If your organization is an international enterprise, you could also integrate the different subsidiaries and their hierarchies, if applicable.

Hierarchy structure visualized with Ingentis org.manager

Flat or horizontal org structures

Flat org structures contain none or very few intermediate levels between upper management and staff. As a result, there is no need to follow lengthy approval processes to respect the hierarchy. On the contrary, flat or horizontal org structures allow for greater engagement of each employee. This type of org structure is especially beneficial for small organizations, businesses, and start-ups.

Matrix-based org structure

A matrix-based structure acknowledges the org hierarchy as well as cross-functional teams. In order to do so, it is displayed as a grid where the columns represent the hierarchy structure while the rows connect the teams or team members that (temporarily) work together beyond the limits of their business or function unit.
For example, a software developer may be positioned in the department “Software Development”. But he is also part of the project team “B” working on the development, quality testing and market launch of one specific product, the software “B”. Thanks to the matrix organizational structure, both of these roles can be visualized.

Visualizing matrix structure with the help of dotted lines.

This is an example of how to include a matrix structure into a hierarchical organization structure with dotted lines.

Network visualization with Ingentis org.manager

Organizational network-based structure

In the past few years, the network structure has become more popular within organizations as it allows for greater flexibility, agility and moves away from the traditional idea of centralization.
One reason to work with network structures is that they facilitate the coordination of and collaboration with external relationships, e.g. with business partners.
Another reason could be that your company primarily works in project teams. In this case, a hierarchical visualization of the org structure is not too helpful when trying to track the members of a project.
Instead, the members of the network nodes are typically from different functional units and when a project is done, new teams are formed.

How to visualize organizational structures

If you’ve already made up your mind about the structure type of your organization, you can visualize this structure to share and discuss or provide your employees or members with this overview. Depending on the size, you could draw it by hand or use a design program. You could also work with a software solution that always keeps your org chart updated, even when changes to the structure occur often.
If interested in such an org chart software, feel free to visit the page of our org charting tool Ingentis org.manager.

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