Assignment: Informal Networks

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Assignment: Informal Networks

Assignment: Informal Networks

Other Organizational Structures An organization is seldom a pure form of one of the four structures described here. It is much more common to see a hybrid structure in which different parts of the organization use different structures depending on the information needs and desired work processes. For example, the IS department may use a hierarchical structure that allows more control over data warehouses and hardware, whereas the research and development (R&D) department may employ a networked structure to capitalize on knowledge sharing. In the hierarchical IS department, information flows from top to bottom, whereas in the networked R&D department, all researchers may be connected to one another.

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Further, IS are enabling even more advanced organization forms such as the adaptive organization, the zero time organization,7 and the elastic enterprise.8 Common to these advanced forms is the idea of agile, responsive organizations that can configure resources and people quickly. These organizations are flexible enough to sense and respond to changing demands. Elastic enterprises, for example, have a core competency of adding partners as necessary to quickly respond to customer needs. They do this by creating a platform and common interfaces to reduce the effort and friction of partnering. Building in the capability to respond instantly means designing the organization so that each of the key structural elements is able to respond instantly.

Informal Networks The organization chart reflects the authority derived from formal reporting relationships in the organization’s for- mal structure. However, informal relationships also exist and can play an important role in an organization’s func- tioning. Informal networks, in addition to formal structures, are important for alignment with the organization’s business strategy. Sometimes, management designs some of the informal relationships or networks. For example, when working on a special project, an employee might be asked to let the manager in another department know what is going on. This is considered an informal reporting relationship. Or a company may have a job rotation program that provides employees with broad‐based training by allowing them to work a short time in a variety of areas. Long after they have moved on to another job, employees on job rotations may keep in touch informally with former colleagues, or call upon their past co‐workers when a situation arises that their input may be helpful. Hewlett Pack- ard’s Decision Support and Analytics Services unit encouraged the development of work‐related informal networks when it established focused interest group/forums known as Domain Excellence Platforms (DEPs). An IT‐enabled DEP allows at least five people who hold a common interest related to

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

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