Organizational structure

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The organizational structure forms the hierarchical framework of an organization (e.g. an authority or a company ). It describes the vertical flow of information and directives in an organization, i.e. who gets which decisions from whom and to whom these are passed on. With this she describes the organization of formal power. The organizational structure is formally represented in the so-called organizational chart .

In contrast, the process organization shows the work and information processes taking place within this framework , which flow almost horizontally through the organizational structure. The process organization is formally represented in the so-called process map .

Design goals

The definition of goals is fundamental to any strategic approach. Design goals must also be defined when planning an organizational structure. Basically, three interest groups can be distinguished. The customers, the company and the employees all have different demands. These can depend on one another or even compete with one another. Only when the individual goals are known can an assessment be made as to whether the organizational structure has been resolved in a targeted manner. In doing so, contradicting goals must be weighed against each other. A meaningful weighting of the individual requirements is of crucial importance.

Goals of the customers

First, the goals of the customers must be examined, as these are the decisive factors for the success or failure of a company. This includes external customers and, in a broader sense, internal customers. As an example, manufacturing could be seen as an internal customer of purchasing or a computer user as an internal customer of the IT department.

The customers' goals are essentially: high quality (the product or service should meet the requirements), fast performance (short delivery times as well as high delivery reliability are competitive advantages; the organizational structure can help avoid time losses), individual products (customers want Product tailored to your needs; this requirement can compete with corporate strategy); Clear contact person (every time contact is made, it should be clearly clarified who is responsible for what; the customer wants a competent contact person and not be referred from one point to the next).

Company goals

The company's goals are primarily driven by value creation. The aim is to generate profits and avoid waste.

The following goals are to be designed from the company's point of view: profitability (the proceeds from a product should cover the costs), future security (the company should also be able to assert itself in the market in the future), reputation (through targeted measures, e.g. marketing, the company should unite maintain a good reputation and keep it in the long term), coordination (the organizational structure should ensure that "the right hand knows what the left is doing"; friction losses are to be kept as low as possible), controllability (the top level should be able to intervene quickly if necessary), Transparency (the top management must be sufficiently informed about the company), flexibility (the company should be able to react quickly to unexpected changes in the environment or to customer requests).

Employee goals

Since employees are independently thinking individuals, it is hardly possible to precisely assess the goals they are aiming for, but certain goals are the same for most of the employees.

Fundamental goals of employees are usually:

Job satisfaction
Most employees want a job they enjoy; social Security; this is influenced, among other things, by the sub-goals varied tasks, demanding tasks, autonomy, participation, power
It is often an advantage for an employee if he is partially shielded from external influences; especially in terms of trouble-free work and even workload
the general human pursuit of security also applies to work; A feeling of security can be forced through sufficient information, clear responsibilities, clarity about requirements
Promotion opportunities
The need for personal development often gives rise to the desire for greater influence, which in hierarchical organizations is referred to as career advancement
Freedom from conflict
Following the human need for harmony, conflicts should be avoided where possible or resolved in a controlled manner.

Job design

A position is the smallest organizational unit in the company. One of the first steps of the organizational structure, taking into account the completion of the company's goals and tasks, is the job design. The job design takes place in two stages, the task analysis and the task synthesis .

When creating a position, the principle of congruence of task, competence and responsibility must be observed (see also the congruence principle ).

A task is understood to be the permanently effective request to do something. This can be understood as assigned related action, thus providing the desired performance of the site is. So the task can be successfully managed, the post holder requires a variety of skills such as design expertise , available skills , application skills , decision-making authority , say competence , arrangement or transfer expertise , policy-making , Representation competence and control competence . The principle of exclusivity must be observed. According to this principle, the competences assigned to one position may not be exercised by other positions. With the assignment of the task, the job holder is also assigned various responsibilities such as personal responsibility , external responsibility , overall responsibility, executive responsibility and responsibility for results, so that he can also carry out the task properly.

The task analysis

Here, the overall task, which is clearly defined, is broken down into many sub-tasks. This should be done independently of the later work synthesis.

The task analysis can be done in different ways:

Five points of view according to Kosiol

Kosiol recommends breaking down the entire task into its individual components according to these five aspects:

Performance analysis
It describes the factual aspect. The central question is what should be done? A distinction is made according to activities or work levels. A rough differentiation could e.g. B. after purchase, production, sale, ... take place. In contrast, with a "finer" differentiation z. B. Obtain, order and test according to offer.
Object analysis
It describes the formal aspect. Here, too, the central question is what should something be done about? An object can be an initial or final product, people, markets, etc. A distinction is made between a logical “OR” and “AND” object structure. With an "OR" structure, a higher-level object is subdivided into sub-objects. For example, the “car” object is divided into “small car”, “sports car” and “luxury car”. With an "AND" structure, an object is broken down into sub-objects. (e.g. body color, equipment, accessories).
Rank Analysis
This is also a formal aspect. The central question is who has to do what? The rank analysis is based on the performance analysis in that it describes which task a decision-making authority has and which is responsible for its execution. The decision hierarchy runs from "top" to "bottom". As an example, produce - assemble - drill, mill.
Phase analysis
This formal aspect deals with the question when does something have to be done? The phase analysis is also related to the performance analysis in that it takes into account the chronological sequence of the tasks. Thus the tasks are arranged logically one after the other. The typical structure takes place in 3 steps: Planning → Implementation → Control.
Purpose analysis
The factual aspect deals with the question What is the relationship between the task and the overall task? In concrete terms, it is about the relationship between the (partial) task and the overall task. I.e. Production, procurement or sales are directly related to the main task. In contrast, the administration, canteen, etc. of a company have an indirect relationship to the overall task.

This consideration requires a lot of time, is very confusing and the principle of synthesis neutrality cannot always be adhered to due to the ideas of the company management.

Three dimensions to black

Schwarz therefore suggests reducing the analysis to the three essential dimensions. He divides the task as follows:

Activities and objects are not separated, but analyzed together, task: procurement of raw materials
Phase structure
Planning, implementation and control are analyzed together, task: procurement planning, procurement implementation and procurement control of raw materials
According to the rank analysis, a distinction is made here between decision-making and execution tasks, e.g. B. the decision-making task on the implementation of the procurement of raw materials or their execution.

Expansion by Gaugler

Gaugler extends this analysis with further criteria, for example:

  • Regions
  • Industry sectors
  • Sectors

Performance and object analysis according to Olfert

Olfert only sees the application of performance and object analysis in operational organizational practice , since the restructuring is done under time pressure.

The task synthesis

During the task synthesis, the subtasks identified during the task analysis are combined into coordinated task complexes. Depending on the scope of the sub-task:

  • Positions: Tasks with or without management authority
  • Instances: bodies with management authority

In the task synthesis, the base point is formed first. Several base stations are then combined into group instances that perform sub-tasks. Several group instances are combined into area instances, which in turn fulfill partial tasks, which in turn are combined to form the overall management instance.

The number, scope and type of tasks vary depending on the responsible party. Therefore, according to Gaugler, the following organizational principles should be used when combining tasks:

Orientation towards normal performance potential
A task holder with normal suitability should be able to cope with the task at a normal working pace.
Orientation towards normal motivation
Tasks should be created as homogeneous as possible, without disruptive secondary tasks.
Orientation towards task-related principles
The positions should be able to be adapted again and again and the correspondence of task, competence and responsibility should be maintained.

Construction specifications

Organizational units

Line points
are vertically integrated into a hierarchy with the authority of the respective authorities. They consist of instances (bodies with authority to issue directives, management tasks are carried out and decisions made) and execution bodies (receive instructions from the bodies and have to implement them)
Staff units
are horizontal and without authority. They consist of staffs (are assigned to one or more instances, no decision-making or authority to issue instructions, only the right to make proposals) and assistants (no permanent, but only occasional tasks, assigned to the instance)
Full-time bodies
have authority to issue instructions. They consist of management groups (e.g. group for managing a company - board of directors of the AG) and project groups (people from different areas of activity who carry out projects together for a limited period of time).
Part-time committees
have no authority to issue instructions. They consist of a college (organizational units for performing special tasks, limited in time) and committees (organizational units for part-time performance of permanent tasks, unlimited in time).

Centralization / decentralization

Centralization is the combination of similar subtasks to form a center as the focal point. It can take place according to various criteria (e.g. execution, phase, decision or administrative centralization). Advantages are e.g. B. Reduction of decentralized departmental egoisms or streamlining of task performance.
Decentralization is the distribution of similar tasks over several departments or positions. A distinction is made between object, decision, phase or administrative decentralization. One advantage is e.g. B. that the knowledge of the employees on site can be better used and their motivation can be increased.


A distinction is made between time-related and task-related activities for the tasks of the responsible persons. Time-related activities: Here, it must be taken into account whether the task holder carries out his activity full-time (the task holder needs the entire working time to fulfill the task) or part-time (the work volume of the position is taken care of by several task holders). Task-related activities: The types of activity can be divided into full-time activity (the responsible body only works on the tasks of a specific position), part-time activity (the responsible body has to do a smaller part of other activities in addition to the technical tasks of his / her position) and semi-official activity (the responsible body does activities in two different areas at 50% each).

Transport authority

A public transport authority is a person who fills a position. A distinction is made between individuals, groups of people or human-machine combinations. The fulfillment of tasks includes initiative and responsibility functions, which is why machines alone cannot belong to task holders. Not only are the responsible persons to be assigned to the identified positions, but also their designation (subject description, e.g. purchasing manager or salesperson) and qualifications (e.g. educational qualification, experience, knowledge, skills or behavior).

Task, competence, responsibility

When assigning responsibilities to the responsible authorities, it is important to ensure that tasks, competencies and responsibilities match (principle of congruence).

It is a permanent, effective invitation to the responsible party to perform specified tasks and is derived from goals. A distinction is made between company-related, market-related and society-related tasks.
It is the authority of a person to take measures to fulfill tasks on the basis of professional competence and to take responsibility for their accomplishment. A distinction is made between subject-related competence (technical responsibility of the job holder) and personal competence (personal responsibility of the job holder). Types of competence are decision-making, instruction, obligation, disposition, information, application and representation competence.
Is personal responsibility for the consequences of independent actions and decisions. It relates to successful and unsuccessful action. Types of responsibility are success, result, budget, personnel, material resources or deadline responsibility. Responsibility must be transferred in order to hold a person accountable.


The organizer's task is to bring the individual organizational units together. These connection paths are also called information and communication paths. A distinction is made between the following connection paths:

Longitudinal connections
Expression of superior and subordinate relationships, with authority to issue instructions
Cross connections
Do not assume a superior or subordinate position, no authority to issue instructions
Diagonal connections
Bring the job holder final decision-making power in a limited subsector, only limited authority
Policy links
Gives the responsible authority the opportunity to exert strong influence on employees in other areas if they violate agreed principles, no authority to issue instructions
External connections
Relationships with external organizations without which the company would not be viable


After the division of the overall task in the task analysis and renewed summary in positions by the task synthesis, a hierarchical structure results in which individual positions or departments are related to each other. This structure is usually referred to as an organizational chart . Regarding the forms of superordinate and subordinate order that characterize an organizational structure, a distinction can be made between single and multiple subordination.

Primary organization and secondary organization

The primary organization represents the hierarchical basic structure of an organization and consists of permanent organizational units such as positions and departments . Communication within the primary organization is usually vertical. It can best be described on the basis of the design parameters used, the characteristics of which can be combined in different ways. These were standardized in organizational theory in order to arrive at a manageable number of basic forms.

Due to the hierarchical structure of the primary organization, it is often not possible to efficiently solve interface problems and complex other problems. This is why this is often done with the help of a secondary organization overlaying the primary organization . Secondary organizations are cross-hierarchical or supplementary organizational units that are used to solve such problems.

Organizational forms

The following forms of organization can be distinguished on the basis of subordination (single or multiple subordination) and on the basis of authorizations (full competencies, partial competencies):

Basic structure of organizations

With regard to the type and scope of the specialization of positions (functional and object-oriented), a fundamental distinction must be made between two organizational principles:

Further forms of organization

In addition, the following organizational principles can be distinguished:

AAO and BAO in public administration

The general organizational structure (AAO) describes the permanent organization for all tasks of daily service. In the case of the general organizational structure, the responsibilities, the hierarchy as well as the communication and decision-making channels are fixed.

The special organizational structure (BAO) serves as a time-limited form of organization to deal with extensive and complex tasks that cannot be finally dealt with within the framework of the AAO. The AAO should, however, also guarantee initial measures for dealing with issues that require a BAO. The establishment of a BAO is required if a situation is recognized by the AAO because of the

  • increased need for staff or the necessary concentration of staff or management and operational resources (e.g. major events),
  • the duration of the requirement or use,
  • the necessary uniform management, especially with different responsibilities

cannot be tackled.

The aim of a BAO is the coordinated processing of very extensive issues with the involvement of all relevant authorities. The terms appear regularly in the context of authorities and organizations with security tasks and their operations . With regard to the type, scope and intensity of the measures, the BAO must be prepared for immediate situations as well as for time slots as required. In the case of immediate situations, the BAO develops gradually and building on the immediate measures of the AAO. Forces and forces with special local and specialist knowledge who have previously been involved in the operation should be integrated as a matter of principle (e.g. employees of the authorities responsible for flood control in flood situations ). If the BAO develops in several phases, especially in the case of immediate situations, clear management relationships must be guaranteed at all times. The smallest possible level of detail and breadth is to be aimed for, v. a. to ensure short information channels. The BAO also includes the creation of operational sections in the tactical-operational area. If deployment sections are formed according to different criteria, interface problems must be counteracted by clearly delimiting the space and tasks or by procedural regulations. The BAO must be maintained for as long and to the extent as is necessary to cope with the situation; The personnel deployed must be informed immediately of the cancellation of the BAO. A few BAOs exist for many years.


Individual evidence

  1. Schmidt 2000, p. 42f.
  2. Schmidt 2000, p. 4.
  3. Schmidt 2000, pp. 45f.
  4. Olfert 2009, p. 76.
  5. Olfert 2009, p. 77.
  6. Olfert 2009, pp. 77f.
  7. Olfert 2009, pp. 79-80.
  8. Rahn 2012, p. 244.
  9. a b General structural organization (AAO) in the glossary on the website of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid (BBK).
  10. Special organizational structure (BAO) in the glossary on the website of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid (BBK).