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Organizational Theory and Structure in Action

In an environment of rapid change, it is important that health care administrators are prepared to plan for and assess organizational effectiveness. By applying theories of organizational design, administrators can help shape the structure and culture of an organization, and ultimately influence its success. For this assignment, examine the following scenario and consider the organizational structure of the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.

Scenario: You are a health care consultant with a thriving practice working with Boston-area hospitals. Your expertise is in organizational design and organizational behavior. One of your clients, Gary Gottlieb of Bringham and Women’s hospital has accepted your proposal to work with his organization on the opening of the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center. In your consulting experience, you have found that reviewing the history of organizational theory helps management teams creatively approach the challenges they face. In addition, it is important to be able to analyze management contribution to organizational effectiveness and consider how strategy shapes organizational structure.


Organizational structure refers to a system that defines the hierarchy in an organization. The structure identifies the line of authority and communication within the organization as well as the role of every employee. According to Fan, Wong, and Zhang (2013, p. 1220), an organizational structure defines how power, duties, roles, and responsibilities are assigned to the employees, controlled and coordinated. Also, the structure gives a clear process through which information flow at every level of management.

Role of organizational structure

An organizational structure plays a significant role in ensuring the organizational goals are accomplished. One of the major roles of an organizational structure is to achieve efficiency in every operation. Organizations need to maximize the use of every resource to minimize its operating costs thus enhance profitability (Fan, Wong, and Zhang, 2013, p. 45). Duplication of work or allocation of resources is wasteful and can only be resolved by an effective organizational structure. The harnessing of experience is another role accomplished by an organizational structure. The structure allows for grouping of the organizational functions such as accounting, marketing, finance, and engineering, thus allowing for the harnessing of experience from every group. The experience attained is essential in supporting the accomplishment of the organizational tasks and projects.

Organizational structure is also used for purposes of achieving an effective communication process. The structure allows for the provision of a clear line of communication at every level of management. Organizational structure is also an effective tool in supporting effective decision making in an organization. According to Mullins (2016, p. 67) the type of a structure adopted by an organization influence the quality of decisions that can be made. An effective organizational structure, depending on the prevailing conditions, will positively influence the decision-making process in an organization.

Types of organizational structure 

Different forms of organizational structures are defined to meet the needs of the organization. The major types of the organizational structure include line, matrix, line and staff and divisional structures. The line organizational structure is the simplest form and is referred to as a departmental type of structure (Fan, Wong, and Zhang, 2013, p. 49). Under this structure, information and authority flow vertically from the top management level to the various levels of managers, employees, and subordinates. The line organizational structure provides a clear line of communication, authority, and accountability among the various levels of management.

Line and staff structure are mainly adopted in large business entities. The functions of the organizations are included in the line structure. According to O’Neill, JBeauvais, L.L., and Scholl (2016) in line and staff organizational structure, the staff, and the line managers are both involved in achieving the organizational goals. Additional employees are included in the line to offer advisory services or assistance to the line managers to enhance their effectiveness in working towards the attainment of the organizational goals. The line managers may have personal staff, specialized staff or general staff that work with them to offer better services to the organization.

Divisional structure refers to the separation of the organization into different departments.  The departments can be formed based on their function, geographical territory, project, or product offered. Matrix organizational structure is set to achieve certain goals in an organization specifically. Under the structure, the product and functional manager work towards accomplishing the set goals. The product manager is in charge of the various products offered by the organization while the functional managers are in charge of the quality control, scheduling, inventory, and production.

The organizational structure observed at Boston-area hospitals

Based on the information provided, it is evident that Boston-area hospital has a line organizational structure. As Fan, Wong and Zhang (2013, p. 1220) posit, a line organizational structure is observed in cases where there is a vertical and direct relationship between the various levels of the firm. The organization consists of line departments that are directly involved in the implementation of the organizational goals. As observed, the top management, occupied by Jacob has a direct vertical relationship with the next level of management, held by the team leader. It is reported that Jacob makes independent decisions that are to be implemented by the care assistants through the team lead. As such, the chain of command also flows vertically, a common observation made in a line organizational structure. The vertical relationship and direct flow of information from the top management level to the other staffs justifies that the organization uses a line organizational structure.