Organizational structure is defined by Lamar University as “the formal system of task and reporting relationships that controls, coordinates, and motivates employees so that they cooperate to achieve an organization's goals." An office's administration may use different organizational structures based on the type of business it is running. Each structure used in office administration has benefits and disadvantages. Assess your office and determine which structure best fits your needs.

Functional Structure

A functional structure places people with similar positions, skill sets and tasks into various groups. A common functional structure is a customer service call center. Each person is performing the same task, using the same equipment and has a common goal of handling customer issues. The advantages in this structure are that it is easy to communicate to a specific group, decisions are made quickly, and training and development are more effective because everyone is learning the same thing at the same time. The disadvantages of this structure are that it limits diversity among the staff, and it’s more difficult to meet changing needs.

Divisional Structure

Divisional structures are broader in scope than functional structures. A functional structure is based on a group of people with the same task, whereas divisional structures are sub-departments within a larger company. For example, if a corporation owns various brands, one brand may be considered its own department and have its own HR team, marketing team, public relations and executive group over the division. This allows for improved quality of products and services, customized management, increased team work and quick decision making. However, this structure requires high operating costs, doesn’t promote communication between divisions and increases conflict.

Flat Structure

A flat structure in office administration incorporates administration and team members in the processes of making decisions, brainstorming and feedback. A flat organization has limited levels of hierarchy when it comes to administrative levels. This structure encourages open communication and incorporates democratic and delegative administrative styles.

Tall Structure

A tall organizational structure has multiple tiers of administrative leadership. A tall organization prevents members of the office from interacting with the administration. Feedback is not encouraged, and employees are expected to follow the orders of the administration without question. An authoritative administrative style is commonly used in tall organizational office structures, and are commonly seen in law enforcement and the military.