The term function, which is used very differently in the specialist literature, comes from the Latin functio and means "performance, activity, action". Sub-functions play an important role in organizational theory. In 1936, Walter Schramm saw the function as a partial task, functions and tasks merged for him. “When the same fact is to be described as a task and when as a function depends on the type of operational task.” In 1955, Fritz Nordsieck, on the other hand, made a distinction between tasks and functions. For Erich Kosiol , the job task became the function of the responsible body in 1962.
Today it is assumed that the function comprises one or more interconnected or related subtasks. According to Hermann Böhrs , these are subtasks that have arisen from the division of labor into the company's purpose and that are necessary to fulfill the operational purpose . "However, the functional division of labor requires a certain interaction between the various functionaries". According to Rolf Bühner , the function is not a specific task, but a roughly outlined spectrum of activities that are considered to be of the same type. Job descriptions , on the other hand, are more precisely defined as function-specific, person-independent and written representations of all essential work content of a job. In the organizational chart of a functional organization , the functional area and area of responsibility can be found as an element of the organizational structure ("box").
Functions can be found in all types of organizations , especially in companies or public administration . The main classification criterion in the organizational structure is the operational function , which distinguishes between basic and cross-sectional functions:
- Basic functions in the company are procurement , production , sales and financing ;
- The cross-sectional functions include company management , human resources , administration , information , research and development and logistics .
The operational functions serve to fulfill the operational purpose and corporate objectives.
In addition, from a hierarchical point of view, a distinction is made according to whether a post holder performs managerial or executive functions. The function therefore also provides information about which area the function holder belongs to and whether he is in a leading or an executive role. The management function is regarded as a coordinating instance because it serves to coordinate cooperative processes. The company is a relatively closed economic and social form of organization, which requires coordination as a vital corporate function. The management function is granted extensive decision-making powers. Employees at the lower end of the hierarchy , however, are bound by instructions support of education or implementing function at best situational own decisions must meet. A functionary is the person entrusted with a function.
Often individual professions or activities are the noun agentis from their function, such as controller (profession) / controlling (function), dispatcher / scheduling , cashier / cashier , customer service representative / customer care , manager / management , rector / rectorate or chairman / chairman .
Functional structures are based on the combination of similar activities and develop primarily because advantages for specialization and learning potential are increased. Just as the overall task is parsed a company in functional tasks, has the corporate objective in operable sub-goals ( sub-goals are) split, which are tailored to the individual function. The overall goal of " profit maximization " can therefore be broken down in the procurement area, for example, to " cost reduction of acquisition costs by 10% compared to the previous year". Goals give the functions a certain direction of development, the overall goal of the company is based on its purpose.
- Walter Schramm, The operational functions and their organization , 1936, p. 28
- Walter Schramm, The operational functions and their organization , 1936, p. 14
- Fritz Nordsieck, Rationalisierung der Betriebsorganisation , 1955, p. 27 f.
- Erich Kosiol, Organization of the Enterprise , 1962, p. 77
- Hermann Böhrs, Organization of the Industrial Company , 1963, p. 16
- Hermann Böhrs, Organization of the Industrial Company , 1963, p. 122
- Rolf Bühner, Organizational Teaching , 1991, p. 110
- Fritz Neske / Markus Wiener (eds.), Management-Lexikon , Volume II, 1985, p. 466
- Günther Richter, Management Instrument Communication , 1996, p. 65
- Hans Blohm, Organization, Information and Monitoring , 1969, p. 22
- Gareth R. Jones / Ricarda B. Bouncken, Organization: Theory, Design and Change , 2008, p. 351