3 Common characteristics of Organizations

Every organization that exists in any place has a specific purpose or goal. During the initial stages of the organization’s setup, the founders or the initiators when creating the organization outlines the purposes and functions of it. As time evolves, the organization can change its structure, and business model but in most cases, they continue to remain focus on the initial purposes. The initiators can be national government, provincial or local government,  state government  or local council for public organizations such as health, schools, transport services, social welfare services and etc. Any organization that is funded by public tax payers’ money through the various agents of government. For businesses it would be the, the owners of the business if it’s small size, and if big corporation, it’s the shareholders or Board of Directors or  Top Management.

1: The purpose of the organization.

The purpose of the organization is often expressed in terms of the following:

  • Vision and mission statement
  • Goal or set of goals, which outlines what it wants to achieve or produce. The end product or outcome in terms of value, quality, percentage of market share and etc.
  • The industry or sector in the economy it serves. For example, if it’s an educational institution, then which sub sector it serves. Early childhood, primary, upper secondary or precollege, , college, University, research institute and etc.

2: The people who work for the organization.

All organizations consist of people. As the saying goes “ the organization is only good as its’ people”. Whether it’s family run business or big corporation with multiple office locations around the country or the globe, it’s the people that make sure the organization lives up to its purpose and goal.

From the front office secretary to the decision-making Executive Director, everyone has a duty to perform and contributes towards the overall achievement of the intended outcomes or the goals.

3: Division of labor among the employees

Every organization have a  structure of management often referred to as organizational structure or hierarchy. It defines and limits behavior of the employees. It defines, the responsibilities of employees, in terms of who to report to, authority to make decisions, their specific job descriptions (JDs) and etc. The enables the smooth flow of communication, efficient allocation of resources such as money, materials, time, information and etc.

Division of labor is important for the organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Both are interrelated. Efficiency concerns with the cost of resources used as input in the production of goods and services while effectiveness is on the later part which is attainment of its goals. The aim is to lower the cost of input resources and achieve greater output.

Effectiveness also applies to the execution of activities. Activities must be accomplished in the least amount of time.

In order for an organization to be both effective and efficient, the activities of the organization has to be managed well. Which is why, certain roles of employees are categorized as managers, which basically means employees employed in these positions have delegated authority to make certain decisions within his/her her functional area of responsibility. If the decision requires a higher authority, then he/she can report it up the organizational structure.

Sample of Organizational Structure

The management structure is often depicted in a pyramid shape, often referred to as management pyramid. The bottom base is the normal workers who does his/her daily tasks and the don’t have any management responsibilities in overseeing other employee’s activities and at the apex is the executive management. In between are the different layers of management based on the size of the organization.

Layer of Management levels

The titles of Managers in an organization different based on the type of organization or industry. For example, universities and colleges  will have titles like President, Chancellor, Deans, Head of Faculty, while most business organizations will have titles like Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Board Chairman, etc. Public or government organizations will title like Secretary, Prime Minister, Minister, Councilor, Mayor, Premier etc.