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Discuss Organization types: functional, product, geographic, matrix and network

1. Discuss the costs and benefits of specialized task assignment relative to broad task assignment. What variables are likely to be particularly important in determining the optimal choice between these two alternatives?

2. Define the following: functional organizations, product organization, geographic organization, matrix organization, and network organization.

3. Discuss the circumstances under which you think functional organizations will work best.

4. Discuss the pluses and minuses of matrix organizations.

5. Why do you think many U.S. firms have reorganized their international divisions from a country focus to matrix organizations focusing on both country and product?

6. In the early 1990's Chrysler Corporation placed nearly all decisions about the development of a new vehicle in the hands of a single, cross-functional product team. In contrast, General Motors used an approach that placed a stronger emphasis on functional specialties. Small teams were established that consisted of experts from the same functional field. Each team was charged with a particular assignment that related to its area of specialization. For example, one team might have had the primary responsibility for the design of the body of the vehicle, whereas another team might have been charged with developing the drive train. The teams worked simultaneously on their specific tasks. Some individuals on these teams also served on additional cross-functional teams that were charged with coordinating the development process across the functional areas. Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches to product development.

Solution Preview

1. Specialized task assignments let managers to match people with jobs based on their skills and training so this let the employees concentrate on their particular specialties. Thus there is higher output than using individuals to perform broad tasks. In the specialized task assignment workers are trained to complete one basis function, but in the broad task they are trained to complete more than one function which can be very expensive. So specialized task assignments are comparably cheaper too. In the specialized task assignment there is a functional myopia because workers are focused on their individual functions but nothing else. Choosing between specialized and broad task assignments depends on the organizational structure and flexibility. For example if the organization does not require much specialization, specialized task assignments can be more costly. On the other hand if there is less flexibility, for example if all employees are trained for different tasks and if there is only one worker available to complete every task, if one of these employees is sick, this reduced flexibility would be more costly for the specialized task assignment. ...

Solution Summary

The 724 word response presents a solid paragraph of explanation for each of the questions.