What is the Purpose of Organizational Structure?

The purpose of an organizational structure is to define the guidelines, parameters and the procedural process necessary for a group to accomplish a main objective. For example, the anatomy of an organizational structure is further reduced to the distribution of authority, span-of-control, line vs. staff structures, organizational height and departmentalization. An organizational structure organizes priorities hierarchically by means of identifying tasks critical to a group realizing an end goal.

Distribution of Authority

Determining how an organizational structure distributes tasks to accomplish a main objective involves identifying if the structure will adopt a decentralized strategy where significant potions of the decision-making process involves sub-ordinates and the managerial staff across many levels of the structure or both or if the structure will adopt a centralized strategy where the majority of decision-making is made from the top-down.


Span-of-control portion of an organizational structure defines the amount of employees an authority figure is responsible for. According to www.docstoc.com, the span-of-control is expressed one of two ways: a wide span of control where managers supervise many employees; a narrow span of control where managers supervise few employees.

Line vs. Staff Structures

An organizational structure may adopt a live structure or a staff structure or both to achieve their main objectives. A line structure, sometimes called a product structure, identifies the activities directly responsible for the organization's main goal, such as the labor involved in making an actually product. A staff structure is the support staff or network assisting the line structures in their goals.

Organizational Height

Organizational height defines how many levels or layers from the decision makers and down there are. Organizational height is expressed as tall organizations with many levels or flat organizations with few levels.


It’s critical for an organizational structure to determine, categorize, and organize the variety of tasks to be accomplished when achieving a main goal and decide how to separate specific tasks from others. This involves departmentalizing tasks, resulting in the formation of departments and divisions within an organizational structure.


About the Author

Joshua Wallace resides in Las Vegas and has been a freelance writer since 2006. He has ghostwritten several books and is also a grant writer. Wallace brings a diverse set of expertize to his articles. He is a certified personal trainer, a Web-designer and a viral marketing consultant. Wallace is finishing his Bachelor of Science in psychology.