This is a divisional structure as the organization is divided into various projects (Laptop, Donations and GradEd).As mentioned in study guide 1 (2009, p. 10) it organizes people, resources and activities around the different projects in Ed Transformers. Each project has its own group of functional departments (HR, Marketing, Finance, IT, Organizations, etc). This can all be illustrated in figure 1. The advantage of this divisional structure is that it makes the company very flexible. It can also adapt to variations and opportunities, as the groups are not large and the management of functions happens within the groups (2009, p. 10).
Another advantage is that the company can now use an organizational behavioural approach to management rather than a scientific one, due to the smaller groups (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, & Coulter, 2008, pp. 54-55). This allows for more socialising within the groups which makes them happier and easier to talk to, and because it is charity organization, this makes them more approachable from the students’ side. The disadvantage however, is if the project divisions do not communicate to each other and clashes can take place. Incompatibilities between their project groups together with other setbacks can/will occur (2009, p. 10).
Another serious disadvantage is that duplications in wherewithal and proficiency can take place between the various projects if they do not converse with each other on a timely basis (2009, p. 3). In this divisional structure, the organization is not getting the most out of their IT function. The project-based IT team is very small, mostly comprising of inexperienced third year students at Nomash University. Their interactions within the projects are quite limited, except when dealing with Ed Transformers website. As mentioned earlier, due to the lack of communication, there is much duplication and minute consistency in the structure. This induces more time and effort into the operations, and decreases their efficiency and effectiveness.
If Ed Transformers increased the size of their IT staff in that function for the various projects, there will be an improvement in operations. The IT function must be further integrated into the other projects other than in the website to help improve their efficiency even more. They must also use compatible, standardised and stable systems to develop further operational timeliness, system availability and information accuracy (efficiency). Where the IT function cannot keep compatibility or consistency, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) components (2009, p. 65) can be used to help improve its structure. The ERP system can integrate the entire organizations human resources, financing and even marketing information and make it compatible for all the projects and their different functions.
Function or purpose: Ed Transformers is an organization that exists to serve those students who are unable to afford tuition fees or laptops. They are a charity organization that receives money from previous students to pay for the tuition and sponsor new underprivileged students. They also receive laptops from post-graduates to give to those that are unable to afford them. Donations are too solicited from other companies and the broad community to aid in the running of Ed Transformers to fund the projects as required.
To perform its purpose, the organization requires different information. They firstly need to know the financial status of the students who are receiving the donations to make out if they are really in need and not just “leaching” for self gain. Also important is having the information of the donors, like making sure they have the resources that they stated they will give, and insuring the items are not stolen etc. Accurate and reliable knowledge of the employees and other volunteers is also valuable to the entity, so that they know what type of people are doing the different types of jobs, i.e. they cannot have a person working in the IT function if they do not know how to operate a computer, etc. Ed Transformers need also know their financial status at all times to ensure that they have the resources on hand to give to the people that they said they will donate to.
The volume of the different types of information varies in the organization. The volume of information about the students they serve is larger than the volume of information they have on their donors. This is because they require as much information about the people they are giving resources to – ensuring they are legitimate – but some of the company’s donors wish to remain anonymous, so there is less information known about them.
Even though Ed Transformers is a non-profit organization, their information is still valuable to them so that they can compete against the other charity organizations to remain “the charity of choice” with graduates. The information on their donors are very valuable as they do not want other companies finding out this information and taking these donors away from them. They do not either want competitors knowing their financial status or the way they perform their operations in order to maintain the organizations survival.
Interface with clients and donors: In interacting with donors, Ed Transformers utilizes their website and call centre, and other advertisements like the television to accept their donations and they even speak to them personally. With the students, they communicate with them through the schools and universities, personal interaction through interviews, website and via the telephone. As the clients/students are disadvantage and might not be able to travel cross-country to acquire financial help, Ed Transformers has offices located in every state of Australia to be close to the students. Donations however can be made from anywhere electronically etc, and laptop donations can be made at any state office.
In its divisional structure, the company uses IT and Marketing to interact with the donors through the means mentioned above. They use the operational staff however to communicate with the different schools and universities in order to communicate with the students together with the other methods stated above. Because the divisional structure is spread across each state, the information each office has to manage has been greatly reduced, but the transfer of that information between branches in the country have increased
Size: Ed Transformers is a large organization as it has 3000 volunteers and 300 other employees across the Australian continent. It also has an office in each of the 8 states of the country. As mentioned in study guide 1 (2009, p. 14), the size of the company is a significant determinant in the amount of information it produces, and the complication of the problem of maintaining the correct flows of information within the business to ensure that it runs efficiently.
Even though the Ed Transformers is quite large and complex, the divisional structure divides the amount of information and work required by each operation. This makes it slightly less complex than a functional organization of the same size, and the company can then run more efficiently. Approach to internal management and control: As mentioned in page 8, due to Ed Transformers divisional structure, they can use an organizational behavioural approach to management.
Usually an organization of their size would use a scientific (structured) or administrative (bureaucratic) approach (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, & Coulter, 2008, p. 49). However, Ed Transformers is subdivided into different offices, which is then divided into different projects and then teamed into their various functions, team project managers can communicate with each individual volunteer and employee in a very social way, and they can socialise with each other too. This social system is very important as this is how they appeal themselves to the students requiring help.
Due to the behavioural approach, they can run very informally, making their clients feel more comfortable in their uncertain circumstances. This freedom may not be the most efficient mode of management, but it is the most effective when dealing with their target audience. Lastly, the complexity of the company affects the approach to management used. Again, as the organization is divided between states and into different projects, the management process is less complex, so the organizational behavioural approach is even more supported and justifiable. This is very unique for such a large entity.