P2 Explain the different structures that can be used in business. Give an example of a type of business that might use each one. Explain and show an understanding of ‘span of control’ and ‘chain of command’.
Some organisations have many levels of staff. There may be a managing director at the top, then various levels of managers and supervisors, down to the staff at the bottom. You might find this type of structure in large retail or manufacturing business.
In a hierarchical structure the jobs are usually more specialised. Staffs work in a specific functional or divisional area and carry out tasks related only to this area and their specific job role. There are many levels of management therefore it takes longer for communication to pass through the layers but there is more opportunities for staff promotion.
An organisation with only two or three levels of staff has a flat structure. This is the case with many small businesses, such as a local recruitment agency with a branch manager, several interviewers and a few support staff. It is also the preferred structure for many creative businesses where a greater level of independence allows staff to come up with good ideas.
This type of structure is popular for companies and consultancies that bid to do ‘one-off’ projects, such as civil engineering companies like Balfour Beatty which build things like hospitals, roads and power lines. When a contract is won, a project team is set up, headed by a leader. When the task ends, the team is set up, headed by a leader. When the task ends, the team breaks up and the members are assigned to another task.
Each project group also needs the support of other staff or departments who provide important functions, such as finance, human resources or marketing.
Geographical structure is organised by