Explain the Different Types of Organizational Structure

Different type of Organizational structure is the result of organizing process. As a structure, organization is a network of internal authority, responsibility relationships.

Organization structure refers to the hierarchical arrangement of various positions in an enterprise. I also defines the relationship between various positions departments, and persons.

Organization structure constitutes, a formal structure with definite authority and clear responsibility. It has to be first designed for determining the channel of communication and flow of authority and responsibility. A hierarchy of positions has to be built up with clearly defined authority and responsibility.

Features of a Good Organization Structure

A sound organization structure meets various needs of the enterprise. The following are the features of a good organization structure

  1. Clear line of authority
  2. Adequate delegation of authority
  3. Less managerial levels
  4. Proper span of control
  5. Simple and flexible.

Types of Organizational Structures

Organization structure differs from enterprise to enterprise. It differs from one another in the way responsibility-authorı interaction relationships are established among jobs, personnel an physical factors. Considering the internal and external environment, the enterprise selects the proper organization structure.

Every enterprise has to evolve its own organization structure because it differs in the nature of activities of the , competence of personnel, and philosophy of business management. Hence, it is no surprise to find a variety of organizational structures.

The adoption of a particular type/form of organizational structure largely depends upon the nature, scale, and size of the business.

The three important types or forms of organization structure are

  1. Line Organization
  2. Line and Staff Organization and
  3. Functional Organization

1. Line Organization

It is the simplest and oldest type of organization. It is also known as military organization because it is developed in the army Line organization is characterized by direct lines of authority flowing from top to the bottom levels of the organizational hierarchy and lines of responsibility flowing in an opposite but equally direct manner.

It creates superior-subordinate relationships from top to bottom communication and accountability . It also provides the channels of in line organization each superior is independent and takes decisions in his own area of work. Each subordinate is directly responsible to his superior for work performance.

Every individual is responsible to one executive only

Types of Line Organization

Line organization may be of two types:

(i) Pure line Organization

In a pure line organization, the activities at any one level are the same and all the individuals perform the same type of work. They are divided into groups only to enable effective control and supervision.

(ii) Departmental line organization

In a departmental line organization, the firm is broadly divided into departments. Each department is under the control of a departmental manager who is responsible to the superior over him o departmental head can directly issue orders and instructions to subordinates in another department.  All communications must flow through the proper channel.

Advantages of Line Organization

1) Simplicity:

It is the simplest type of organization, which can be defined easily and understood by all personnel easily.

2) Fixed Authority and Responsibility:

The lines of authority and responsibility are clear and definite. Member organization find no difficulty in determining to whom they have to report and who is responsible to them.

3) Prompt Decisions:

As every manager has complete and control over his subordinates, decisions can be made romptly. He can take decisions freely without consulting any committee or staff specialist.

4) Unified Control and Discipline:

There is unity of command and control according to which an employee can receive orders only from one superior. It means a subordinate is responsible to only one superior. It ensures strong discipline and unity among the employees.It is also easier to control subordinates. It also becomes easier to control subordinates.

5) Coordination:

When all activities relating to one department are managed by one individual, there is a possibility for effective coordination.

6) Flexibility:

This type of organization is flexible. The adjustments in the organization can be easily made to suit the changing conditions.

7) Less Expensive:

It is less expensive form of organization. Since, it does not employ the staff specialists. it is less expensive from the point of overhead costs.

Disadvantages of Line Organization

1) Autocratic:

There is too much concentration of authority at the top. Hence, there is a danger that one man may rule arbitrarily or even on dictatorial basis.

2) Lack of Specialization:

There is no functional specialization in Line organization. As one person look after all the work relating to his department, there is no scope for specialization. One person cannot be expert in all areas.

3) Overloading:

In line organization expected to perform too many jobs of diverse nature. Hence. they are overloaded with work and may not be in position to direct and control subordinates properly.

4) Scope for Favoritism:

In line organization, only one executive controls all the activities relating to his department. The appointment, transfer, and promotion of employees also depend upon one person. Hence, there is much scope for favoritism and nepotism.

5) Inefficiency:

In line organization experts are not appointed for providing suggestions. n the absence of expert staff’s advice, executive decisions may be unbalanced. Hence, it may result in inefficiency and loss.

6) Problem of Replacement:

When the executive leaves or dies, it may create the problem of replacement as there is no provision for training or developing persons who may later replace him.

7) One Way Communication:

In this type of organization there is no communication from subordinates to superiors and the workers should follow the orders of superiors even if they had made wrong decision. This affects subordinates creativity and capacity for independent thinking.

2. Line and Staff Organization

As organizations grew. it was felt that in a large organization. a few executives could not perform all the functions themselves. They needed assistance from the specialists in various areas.

Thus. the line and staff organization was developed. When provision of ‘staff is made in the line organization that becomes line and staff organization. In a line and staff organization staff plays role of advisory to the line managers.

It was designed to maintain a proper balance between centralization and division of work. In a line and staff organization the works of an organization are divided into two broad divisions: the staff, which is responsible planning and the line for the actual execution of the work.

Under this type of organization there is a direct line authority as in line organization and specialists are attached to the line managers to advice them on important matters. Staff relationship is purely advisory.

Staff experts simply provide information and suggestions, which are not binding on line managers. who have the ultimate authority to take decisions.

Often, in practice there is no clear-cut distinction in the line and staff authority. The same person may hold both. The staff departments within themselves are also organized on a line basis For instance personnel department is a staff organization, If considered from the point of overall firm, but a personnel manager would have line authority over the staff working under him.

Advantages of Line and Staff Organization:

(1) Specialization:

It is based on planned specialization The expert advice of specialists is made available to line executives at all strategic points. This enables higher efficiency in management.

(2) Sound Decision:

It provides opportunities for sound managerial decisions with the help of information and advice from the staff experts.

(3) Reduces Work Load:

The staff officers provide expert suggestions after detail analysis of each important managerial activity. This reduces the work load of line officers which is a big relief to the managers.

(4) Discipline and Stability:

The staff does not disturb the scalar chain and unity of command is maintained. As a resu discipline and stability can be maintained in the organization.

(5) Opportunities for Advancement:

A great variety of responsible jobs are available in line and staff organization Hence, it provides more opportunities for advancement of capable personnel.

(6) Flexibility:

In line and staff organization, staff can be added to the line without disturbing the line procedure. Hence. there is greater flexibility in the organization.

Disadvantages of Line and Staff Organization:

1) Confusion:

If the relationship between line and staff is not clearly indicated, there may be considerable confusion throughout the organization. It may create the problem coordination, communication and control in the organization.

2) Conflict:

Conflicts between line executives and staff experts are very common. Line managers may ignore staff advice it impractical and regard as interference. Whereas over enthusiastic staff may encroach upon line authority to get its suggestions implemented. Hence, lack of mutual understanding and mistrust line-staff conflict exists.

3) Expensive:

Line and staff organization is expensive use two separate types of executive line and staff have to be employed at high salaries.

4) Encourages Carelessness:

As the staff officer is not concerned with the execution of plan, he may not take proper precautions before he advises the line officer. Being specialist in a specific area he cannot see the whole picture objectively. Hence, it may encourage carelessness on the part of the staff officer.

5) Reduces Initiative Power:

Line executives may depend too much on staff experts for ideas and information. As a result they may loose their own initiative and judgement.


Advantages Disadvantages


1. Confusion

2. Sound decision

2. Conflict

3. Reduces work load

3. Expensive

4. Encourage carelessness

4. Discipline and stability Opportunities for advancement

5. Reduces initiative power 6. Flexibility


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