Organizational Structure: Position VS Role


This article reflects my personal view of points factor job evaluation methodology as well as any organizational structure with fixed positions build in them, whether for example hierrarchial structure or lattice structure.

When I think of the traditional organizational structure, I offer it as a significant reason for:

  • The huge inequality of pay between positions at the top and the bottom of the structure.
  • The top reason why people leave their jobs (because of their boss).
  • The lack of multi-skilled workers at the workplace.
  • Why the strength theory does not work at the workplace.
  • Decline or death of business because of lack of agility to adapt quickly to change in the business environment.
  • Lagging productivity and the lack of initiatives.

I think that the work-place should be repositioned and reshaped as a work community to enable it to stay flexible and versatile.

Business Pace Today is Faster

First, I want to give you the reader some ideas of how we have already stepped into the 21st century, starting 1 January 2001. I also want to alert the reader to the fact that many things that we do in human resource management are out-dated.

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.

Ocean liners were the primary mode of intercontinental travel for over a century, from the mid-19th century until they began to be supplanted by airliners in the 1950s.

The Concorde supersonic aeroplane was first flown in 1969, enter service as a passenger jet airliner in 1976 and was operated until 2003.

Motorola was the first company to produce a handheld mobile phone. On 3 April 1973, Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher and executive, made the first mobile telephone call from handheld subscriber equipment, placing a call to Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. Apple Computer was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. They launched the Apple I computer, selling about 200 units.

The Hay Group Guide Chart Profile Method of Job Evaluation was conceived in the early 1950, with its roots in factor comparison methods in which Edward N Hay was a pioneer. The methodology is leads setting up a hierarchical structure of job grades.

The world of business that once was separated by oceans and continents have now become a global village.

The rigid hierarchical structure of the 19th century (beginning 1 January 1801) and 20th century (beginning 1 January 1901) can no longer keep up with the faster pace of today’s business.

What is Organizational Agility?

When the business environment in which our business operates changes; we need to be to re-deploy our resources so that we can continue to do business.These resources include money, people, equipment, locality (presence). This ability to sustain the business, not necessarily the same business is called agility.

Overdose of Visual Representation

Experts on organization suffers from an overdose of the need to pin down on what the organization structure of an organization structure looks like.

When you talk to them about business, it is very likely the first question they asked is for you to draw a organizational chart for them to look at.

If you need to make changes to your organizational functions (cluster of activities) and move your resources around to perform these functions, other than giving a snap-shot where where these resources are and what use they have been put to.

Roles, Not Positions

Positions refer to the number of vacancies that are performing the same job; each is to be filled by a person.

I speculate that many people in top organizational positions hold on to hierarcharchial structure because of money (compensation), power (to control). However, that is a misperception.

Position are needed only when you need a fixed organization structure of all types.The truth is a rigid is not essential for businesses to operate at at optimum. What is more important are roles.When roles are clearly divided between people, one can clearly place the responsibilities and authorities.

Job Areas VS Job Titles

In a fast pace world, it is more useful to have a database of who have what competencies, skills, specific work experience, than just job titles. It helps with redeployment of staff. Of course, work titles may be useful in our dealings with the world outside our organization but listing the work areas are just as useful.

Be Paid  for Meaningful Work and Not a Job

Jobs are an industrial revolution era concept. Jobs are degrading because those who wants to contribute in their own ways are open to oppression. Our work-place is still one where there is low tolerance for mistakes, where management practices are leaning towards intimidation. So employee initiatives and productivity will take a nose dive because they are not allowed to speak up. How can the workplace be innovative if staff always work in fear of losing their livelihood? Without innovation, we cannot talk about sustainity and when people turnover increase, the business loses sustainability.

Biggest Disadvantage of Job Based Pay

The biggest disavantage of job based job evaluation methodologies are that they are systems that set up a job and pay structure based on a hierarchical structure. In that way, they prop up the structure.

Annual Clean Up

Processes work better if they simplified or even removed, when found redundant. If you use a job based job evaluation system, can you imagine the amount of work that you have to regularly resize and reclassify your jobs.

Job Rotation

If a business wants to build up workers that are multi-skilled; who are able to stand in for an area of work when the original job incumbent is missing, or to provide more potential candidates to the succession pool, then job rotation is an important tool for worker to gain experience in a different work area.

Again, with job based job evaluation system, we are faced with the question of “how should we pay people?”

Be Realistic About Defining Work and Responsbilities

Other disadvantages about job based job evaluation methodologies are:

  • They do not check whether the jobs as described can be performed.
  • They do not care whether a suitable job incumbent can be found.
  • They do not take into account the work-load and the importance of the tasks relative to the results the role need to achieve.

Different Leaders Have Different Strengths

There are 3 good reasons for getting away from a hierarchical structure are:

  • You want to avoid over-paying at the top. People are mortals. They have limitations. One limitation is specialization.
  • Leadership works best if it is a minimum of 2 or more people with a maximum of 4 or 5 people. These people can lead in rotation.
  • The maximum span of control for anyone is 12 people.
  • The business works only if you hire competent people and build an administrative culture that allows them to surface their ideas and work on viable ideas.

Great Leaders Have These Qualities

Great leaders have some or all of these qualities:

  • Helicopter view.
  • Eye for details.
  • Ability to see far into the future (foresight).
  • Ability to learn from the past (hindsight).
  • Able to connect the points.

In honesty, when you look at the CEO or COO of any organization, how many have these qualities.

The Only Plus of a Job Based Evaluation Methodology

The chief advantage of a job based job evaluation methodologgy is that it is a good method to size jobs. What we do not want to do is to break the points up into clusters of points and call them job grades. Many of the existing method does this, and that prompts re-looking at the methodology.