Describe the 4 different types of management structure described in the Constantine paper. Be clear and concise, but give just enough detail that a non-management reader can understand the fundamental differences between them.
Constantine’s four management structures include:
Closed – This is a traditional hierarchy where managers make decisions and hand them down to subordinates for implementation.
Random – This is the exact opposite of the closed paradigm. Groups are egalitarian, allowing direction and decision making from all individuals.
Open – in open paradigms, groups are also egalitarian, but decisions are reached through negotiation and consensus
Synchronous – Decision making is implied by a shared vision in synchronous organizations. Coordination is harmonious and effortless.
Describe in a bit more detail the management structure you want to champion. Use any clear and concise method you like. Note that you may use a combination of styles, but you need to be very explicit where you intend to apply each.
A recommend that Hybrid Motors remain a relatively flat organization, using a closed structure for top management and departmental representatives and an open structure for the remainder of the organization.
At the top, the startup management of Hybrid consists of seasoned executives with and the advisory board. On the advisory board, there will be one departmental representative from each of the five departments organized by function, marketing, sales, product development and engineering, manufacturing and distribution, human resources and administration.
The middle structure consists of the five above. The bottom structure consists of factory workers. Both the middle and bottom structure will use an open management structure.
3. Do some research and figure out what premises are critical to making your argument, and then try to find facts and figures to justify those premises. You should use these in your argument.
It’s become fashionable to bash closed management structures in organizations, but in most cases, some degree of top-down management is necessary. However, evidence has shown that the larger the company/division/organization is, the interaction of bottom-up and top-down activities becomes less manageable and less effective. This is the real problem with top down management, not that the structure itself is inapt as now claimed by many. Often a hierarchically structured bottom-up/top down interaction diminishes interactions between departments or business units. The solution is to facilitate bottom-up/top-down interaction as has been successfully implemented by Siemens Program and System Engineering, the research and development division of Siemens AG with 5000 engineers (Heiss, Stoeckl, and Hausknotz, 2004).
The management structure proposal for Hybrid Motors incorporates closed management not just for top management, but also includes departmental representatives. The role of the departmental representatives will be to facilitate the bottom-up/top-down interaction that closed management frequently impedes. The representatives will provide top management with functional area expertise to enhance the decision making of top management and they will also be included in the decision making process. Also, the representatives will foster communication between top management, the five departments and the factory.
4. Now, do some research and figure out what premises are critical to making the argument opposing yours, and then try to find facts and figures to discredit those premises.
Nothing to the Hybrid Motors proposal than the following quote, “In turbulent business environments, managers are discovering that a conventional, top down approach to strategic planning is no longer viable or effective…. Active adaptation to an organization to tap the knowledge, passion, and creativity of its people… every employee must become an operational strategist…. Strategic planning must no longer be considered an elitist activity that happens behind closed doors…. Rather, planning must be viewed as a continuous, interactive, and democratic process that empowers managers and employees together to create the future of the firm.” (Purser & Cabana)
Lear (1992) blames the downfall of General Motors and IBM in the early 1990s to their reliance on hierarchical management. He recommends banishing the dinosaur. General Motors did just that and transformed its organization into a matrix (Prewitt, 2003). Today the company is on the brink of bankruptcy indicating that the company’s performance can’t be totally related to its organizational structure.
5. Give a clear and convincing logical argument why this structure is best for Hybrid
Motors. In this argument, you need to also argue that other possible structures are not as good. It is absolutely essential that you clearly state and justify your underlying premises, as well as make a valid logical argument for your management structure.
In many ways, the company is still a startup. It needs marketing, sales and financial analysis; it hasn’t even decided which product to bring to market first.
It has disagreements on how best to comply with environmental and safety standards. and, it has outstanding supply chain questions about where components should be manufactured or purchased. For all these reasons, Hybrid Motors requires a closed management structure at the top so that it can clarify goals and define business practices. The consensus required by other management structures would have proven too time consuming and complex for management to quickly reach the vast number of decisions that are on the table. As explained earlier, the advisory board was created to overcome the tendency of closed management to cut off interactions with the rest of the business.
In addition to the need to have decisions made quickly, Hyrbrid Motors has, “the need for extreme efficiency and excellence.” Egalitarian groups can best facilitate these needs over closed structures that stifle flexibility. The synchronous management structure was ruled out as an option even though it involves egalitarian groups because the company simply does not have the strong vision and process rules in place for employee alignment. The open option was selected over the random option because the open structure will have a better chance of keeping all of the employees involved in the direction of the company. This is yet another attempt to compensate for the potential that top management will not interact with the business as well as it should because of the closed management structure that has been recommended. The open structure should also foster more cohesion than the random alternative. This will be valuable in a startup that will be bringing in lots of new employees who lack training.
Heiss, M, Stoeckl, S, and Hausknotz, C. (2004, October 18-21). The bottom-up/top-down pattern: an organizational pattern for a balanced management system. Engineering Management Conference, 2004. Proceedings.2004 IEEE International. Vol. 1, pp 317-323
Lear, R.W. (1992, April). Going, going, gone – changing nature of business management – Speaking Out. The Chief Executive. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4070/is_n75/ai_12289893
Prewitt, E. (2003, September 1). GM’s Matrix Reloads. CIO. http://www.cio.com/archive/090103/hs_reload.html
Purser, R.E. And Cabana, S. (1997, May). Involve employees at every level of strategic planning. Quality Progress.