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What Is Organizational Structure Consulting?

By Jan Fletcher
Updated May 17, 2024
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Organizational structure consulting is concerned with evaluating and improving a company's performance by making adjustments to its structure. How an organization's hierarchy impacts decision-making, and productive processes is typically reviewed, with an eye toward improving efficiency. Relationships among the company's personnel may be strongly impacted by underlying issues related to its operational framework. An organizational structure consultant may analyze and pinpoint bottlenecks, logjams, and silos. These configurations vary and reflect various management theories.

A consultant generally begins by surveying the existing operating structure the organization uses. He or she may take a detailed look at how authority operates and whether it is arranged hierarchically, horizontally, or is segmented into divisions. If it is a large entity, the consultant may also review the impact that any existing geographical spread may have on the functionality of the organization. Organizational structure consulting examines how those arrangements affect vital decision-making within the organization. Since organizations are ultimately shaped by human behavior, effective task management depends upon organizing workers into the most economically and strategically beneficial model.

Relationships among staff often have an immense impact on how efficient an organization is in meeting its mission. Squabbles, rivalries, and territory claims can be very disruptive to operations. Although human nature alone can create these conflicts, organizational structure consulting seeks to understand how current decision-making pathways may actually facilitate such non-productive behaviors. Correcting an overly inward focus by breaking down these dysfunctional structures may imbue the staff with a new sense of collective purpose.

Often a consultant will discover dysfunctional areas within an organization, as these are very common. These may include organizational silos, decision-making bottlenecks, and inefficient task management that evolved over time, often because sufficient quality controls were not in place. Sometimes companies drift into dysfunctional processes. At other times, internal or external changes may lead to sudden negative changes in an organization's function.

The tendency to drift may be exacerbated by holes in the organizational structure that allow certain processes to fall through the cracks. For example, an organizational silo is an area within the company in which staff members feel a need to restrict information for personal reasons, such as wanting more control. In organizational structure consulting, it is generally imperative that restrictions on necessary information flow be evaluated and removed.

Organizational structure consulting is usually based upon one or more of several business management theories. Even so, most management functions fall into a handful of categories. The main ones are how things are controlled, how goals are set and evaluated, and how conflicts are resolved.

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