Business Management — Structure and Change

Which organization is more horizontal in structure, the functional or divisional organization? Which do you feel works better? Support your answer.

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Generally, the divisional organization is more horizontal than divisional organizations (Robbins & Judge, 2009). That is primarily because divisional organizations often maintain entirely independent business components with identical (or very similar) corresponding departments and subunits. They are essentially entirely independent organizations operating side by side (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Conversely, functional organizations are less horizontal in structure because their various components are functionally related to and generally depend on one another to achieve a mutual objective (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Whereas the subcomponents of divisional organizations perform identical or similar functions, those of functional organizations usually perform different functions that cannot be performed by other subcomponents. Within functional structure, individual subcomponents cannot produce the organization’s final product by themselves; they each contribute a specific element of the final product but their individual output is insufficient except within the framework that combines the respective output of all the subcomponents (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

In principle, there is no independent basis on which to say that either functional or divisional organization is necessarily “better” or in any way preferable to the other. That is because each structure is appropriate for different types of processes (Robbins & Judge, 2009). Generally, a functional structure is appropriate where the organization produces high volumes of less complex products, goods, or services. Meanwhile, divisional or horizontal structure is more useful in connection with the production of lower volumes of specialized goods or services that serve different consumer needs in and configurations (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Which is more important to achieve change, readiness to change or the capability to change? Support your answer.

In some respects, readiness for change is functionally impossible without the capacity for change (George & Jones, 2008). That is because it is possible for an organization to have capacity for change before it is ready for change but the converse (i.e. “readiness” for change without a corresponding capacity for change is purely imaginary). Stated differently, capacity for change is a prerequisite for readiness to change but organizations can be capable of change before they are actually ready for change. One could argue that both capacity for meaningful organizational change and readiness for organizational change are prerequisites components for successful change; neither can support effective change in isolation (George & Jones, 2008).

One could also argue that, from a practical perspective, readiness for change is a more important business management principle than capacity for change for two reasons: (1) because readiness for change is more likely to be a function of human factors and aspects of organizational behavior that can be changed, and (2) mistakes that in relation to change are more likely to occur when there is a capacity for change but not readiness for change (George & Jones, 2008). That is simply because change is more likely to be attempted unsuccessfully in connection with unrecognized lack of readiness for change than in connection with lack of capacity for change. In most situations, it is much more apparent that a given organization lacks capacity for change which means lack of capacity is less likely to be confused with capacity (George & Jones, 2008). However, where capacity for change does exist, it is fairly common to overlook issues in relation to readiness. Therefore, if importance is a function of the frequency with which the issue comes up and the importance of not misconstruing the actual situation, readiness to change is a more important concept in the realm of business management.


George, J.M. And Jones, G.R. (2008). Understanding and Managing Organizational

Behavior. , NJ: Prentice Hall.

Robbins, S.P. And Judge, T.A. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River,

NJ: Prentice Hall.