division of works

Division Of Works In Management: Meaning, Features, Illustration, and Example

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Companies must provide superior, cost-effective services and goods to prosper in the modern and highly competitive market. For an organization to accomplish this, it must function efficiently. It needs a multitude of superior skills and management competency.

Division of works in management is an effective solution to put a robust structure in place that addresses the needs of the business.

Division of works in management separates skills and divides tasks into various activities. The benefit of this approach is that it creates areas of specialization and efficiency. Organizations that use division of works need an effective structure, a clear chain of command, and communication channels.

Irrespective of an organization’s core business, sound management principles are imperative. Management must facilitate strong communication channels and clarity for employees. Allowing employees to operate in their areas of expertise and providing a structure that supports this enables a culture of excellence.

What Does Division Of Works In Management Mean?

Division of works, in simple terms, is breaking up a project into several tasks, each of which is performed by an individual or group of workers. The individuals or groups specialize in a specific function. They are solely responsible for that task, nothing more and nothing less.

The same principle applies to management. Specialized skills are required to ensure an organization’s smooth running and profitability. The components of a business strategy require advanced expertise to bring it to fruition. The larger the organization is, the more critical division of work becomes.

Most organizations that practice division of works have multiple specialized work groups trained for production or management.

Another way of expressing the division of works is that the sum of all components equals the whole.

To fully understand the division of work and the rationale behind the concept, looking at how and why this management theory evolved is valuable.

1. Free Trade Idealized The Division Of Works

Adam Smith (1723 – 1790) was a well-recognized Scottish philosopher and economist who introduced the notion of free trade. Free trade enabled every person to work on and sell whatever they were masters of, which could stimulate trade opportunities.

His most book, The Wealth of Nations, describes the advantages of free trade and delves into a new provocative business train of thought.

2. Industrialization Prompted The Division Of Works

Before the Industrial Revolution, Britain’s opportunities for trade grew as its empire expanded. There was a need for expanded production capacity. Management principles were revised to allow for rapid expansion. Industrialization spearheaded the modern business concept.

The concept of a marketplace also added to Britain’s trading prospects. It made sense for several tasks and projects to be divided into specialist functions to shorten the manufacturing process.

The result would be that all components were available simultaneously. Components could be assembled and ready to trade in considerably reduced time frames. This new management concept starkly contrasted with the previous business practice of consecutive production lines.

The downfall of previous management was that a step in the process totally depended on the previous step.

3. Division Of Works Became A Management Tool

Henry Fayol is regarded as one of the founders of modern business methods. He designed a scientific approach to business management broken down into 14 core principles.

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The 1st of Fayol’s 14 management principles is a division of work. Fayol advocates creating a task-focused environment where employees are assigned specific tasks. The rationale supporting this is that it makes sense to train specialists in niche areas so that they develop an area of proficiency.

He argued that division of works increased productivity leading to greater efficiency, superior quality, and shortened manufacturing times. This theory contradicts a multi-task environment where employees are given many tasks simultaneously.

Fayol states, “The objective of division of works is to produce more and better work with the same effort.”

4. Modern Management Embraces Division Of Works

Although a division of works became popular as a management tool in the 1800s and early 1900s, modern business frequently incorporates this principle throughout the organization. Division of works is no longer reserved for manufacturing and production alone. Most businesses require several areas of specialization to function efficiently and profitably.

division of works

Features of Division of Works

The division of works business model has numerous features that must work in tandem to create the most efficient output. The success of implementing the division of works is heavily reliant on separate departments or production teams performing specific functions.

Although this principle of a single-task model is logical on paper, the execution requires greater planning and coordination than a multi-task business model.

1. A Clear Organizational Structure Is The Starting Point

A solid structure must be in place to make a successful division of works. The business strategy and final output dictate the structure. There is no set rule for organizational structure other than strong connectivity between organizational layers.

There are very clear benefits to a well-defined and implemented organizational structure:

  • Faster decision-making due to clear lines of communication
  • Greater efficiency in the business because employees who focus on a specific task know what is expected of them.
  • Responsibilities are clearly defined and not vague.
  • Streamlined operations eliminate duplication of work and time delays.

2. A Chain Of Command Clarifies Reporting Structures

With a clear chain of command, decision-making and problem-resolution will be easier. A chain of command is a vertical reporting structure that cascades downwards and escalates upwards.

From the top down, the chain of command gives instructions and provides guidance. It also holds departments and individuals accountable. From the bottom up, problem resolution and queries are escalated to higher organizational levels.

A great advantage of a chain of command is that individuals know who they receive instruction from and who they can lean into for advice and assistance.

3. Roles And Responsibilities Require Accountability

Accountability is paramount to the success of the division of works organizational business structure. Individuals in a specialization will be accountable to each other. Areas of specialization are accountable to other business departments or production lines.

4. Sound Logistics Creates Efficiency 

Logistics are the foundation for a division of works operation. The principle on which the division of works is founded is the coordination of specialist activities. A common goal is a recipe for success. Logistics and planning determine whether the business runs efficiently or not. Time is of the essence in any business, and logistics promote time and resource management.

Examples of the impact of  logistics:

  • Coordination of activities for efficiency
  • Creation of realistic project management timelines
  • Cost savings due to economies of scale and correct resource allocation
  • Financial savings due to timeous resource purchases and price negotiations

5. A Specialized Work Force Fosters Excellence

Inherent to this model is the need for a specialized workforce. Specialization is acquired through on-the-job training, organizational training, prior experience, or qualified areas of specialization.

There are benefits to a specialized workforce:

  • Gives an organization a competitive advantage
  • Allows employees an opportunity to improve their skills
  • Fosters a culture of excellence

How Does Division of Works in Management Affect an Organization?

Organizationally, the division of works requires a management hierarchy; it is not a flat management structure. The purpose of a management hierarchy is to allow a specialized workforce to focus on their role and responsibility without having to perform management functions.

Organizations that practice the division of works allow individuals or groups to perform optimally in their specialization.

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Establishing a communication and problem-resolution pipeline allows streamlined instructions, communication, and decision-making.

The company will need to keep an eye on the following:

  • Interdependency will only work well when the entire process from top to bottom functions fluidly.
  • Departments may work at cross-purposes if they do not collaborate.
  • A glitch in one area of specialization may hold up the other specialist units causing a delay in the final delivery of the product or service.
  • All departments in the organization must have a common purpose so that the details do not overshadow the outcome.
  • Departments must be clear on their role in creating the ‘big picture.’
  • An error in one part of the division of works organogram creates problems across management structures and the production lines.

An example of this chain effect is:

  • Late payment by the finance department undermines the organization’s relationship with its suppliers.
  • A late payment or lack of funds affects the timeous purchase of materials and resources.
  • Resources that should have been delivered on time but do not arrive when expected delay the final product.
  • Marketing communication may be scheduled to commence on a specific date. Due to delays, this communication will need to be retracted and could incur cancellation penalties.
  • Economies of scale and production efficiencies are compromised.
division of works

Division Of Works Pros And Cons

As with any organizational structure and workforce strategy, there are pros and cons. In the modern working environment, specialization allows for expertise and high-quality output. This benefits the organization, and its individuals but comes with its challenges.

Designing a clear organizational structure to ensure clear roles and responsibilities is important. Objectives for each arm of the structure are cemented in accountability. They must seamlessly reach a joint goal or product in an allocated time frame.

Pros Of Division Of Works

There are more pros than cons for a division of works model:

  • Employee specialist skills are developed to create a superior workforce.
  • Employees have clear job descriptions.
  • Employees operate in areas they are knowledgeable and passionate about.
  • Implementing training is simpler for organizations.
  • The organization operates more efficiently.
  • Time management is optimized within the business.
  • Quality control improves.
  • There is a clear chain of command.

Cons Of Division Of Works

Even though a division of works model has many pros, several cons could come to the fore.

  • Employees may get bored.
  • There may be little scope for further development of employees.
  • Communication across the organization could be jeopardized if departments work in isolation. The silo effect is detrimental to a business’s well-being and is complicated to undo once it is entrenched.
  • If the correct logistics are not in place, uncoordinated timelines could lead to financial losses for a business.
  • Employees may need help understanding the business’s objectives and feel isolated from the greater workforce.

Significance of this Principle in Management

The primary role of management in an organization is to guide the organization toward meeting business goals. Management styles and dynamics differ from organization to organization and industry. Division of works is one set of management principles organizations can subscribe to.

A company’s leadership has many responsibilities, and a division of works assists in achieving outcomes.

ResponsibilityDivision Of Works Solution
Providing leadership and guidanceThe hierarchical structure in the division of works facilitates a pipeline of communication whereby cascading leadership levels provide guidance to the levels below them. This solution ensures that communication is relevant and interpreted correctly across the organization.
Achieving financial goalsBreaking down projects into singular tasks enables economies of scale and greater efficiency, increasing the organization’s profitability.
Maintaining good corporate governanceDepartments that are over-tasked could be overwhelmed with policies and procedures. In a division of work structure, because each department/person has a specific role, it is easier for them to follow procedures. 
Marketing the organization’s goods and serviceThe division of works management principle facilitates expertise, giving organizations a competitive edge. 
Attracting excellent talentThe principle of division of work is skills-based and requires expertise. An organization practicing division of works will be nature employ and train a competent workforce.

Effective Strategies in Applying Division of Works

The division of works business model is characterized by ring-fenced specialist roles for specific sections of the business’s requirements. Although this principle is clear in its intent, key strategic components make this a well-oiled machine.

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This scientific approach to business is why Fayol became known as the doyenne of modern management.

1. Managers And Team Leaders Must Have Authority

Managers must be given the necessary authority to effectively channel work through areas of specialization and across departments and organizational structures. With relevant authority, obtaining buy-in and executing instructions may be easier.

With authority comes the need for accountability. Without accountability, authority is misplaced and can be abused. A lack of accountability jeopardizes the cohesion of specialist areas in the business.

In Henri Fayol’s management principles, he presents the rationale that technical and managerial skills are not interchangeable. Management is a skill to be developed independently and is a specialization of its own.

Technical or specialized employees require guidance, a reporting structure, and an organizational framework to meet quality standards.

Fayol says that just because an employee demonstrates great skill and resourcefulness in an area of specialization does not necessarily mean that this employee has management skills.

2. Clarity Of Command Is Necessary

Employees must know to whom they report. Suppose an employee reports to more than one manager. In that case, chances are good that this will result in compromised quality of work and demotivation.

3. Common Direction Focusses The Organization

The fundamental principle of a successful business is to work towards a specific end game. To this end, departments within the organization must work together to attain a common goal. This necessitates a commitment to horizontal and vertical lines of communication.

4. Policies And Procedures Create A Disciplined Approach

Discipline in an organization is paramount to success, particularly in finance, logistics, human resources, strategy, administration, marketing, and management chain. It requires working across departments to achieve unity of purpose. A horizontal management structure sets out the various disciplines in the organization.

Even though a company emphasizes specialization, this extends beyond actual production components and includes horizontal functions that enable the business to run successfully. Cohesion between these departments is just as important to ensure the smooth running of an organization.

Policies and procedures stabilize an organization and keep the company’s business hygiene up to scratch.

Examples of policies and procedures are:

  • Human resource procedures such as leave and personal matters
  • Employment contracts
  • Financial processes
  • Purchase and supplier agreements
  • Email Policies
  • Social media policies
  • Health and safety compliance
  • Confidentiality agreements

5. Effective Communication Is Horizontal And Vertical

More organizational communication could be necessary for a business environment where small pockets of employees perform specific functions.

Internal communication is just as important as staff training. Communication is both verbal and written. Important messages must be formally conveyed either in an email or company document. Verbal communication should take place in a meeting or formal one-on-one environment. Formal communication platforms ensure that everyone is well-informed.

A division of works organogram is cascading and may flow through a few layers of management in larger corporations. Because of this, a broken telephone chain could filter through with the initial message misinterpreted.

Horizontal communication is pivotal in ensuring that the various departments across the organization are aligned and driven toward a common objective. Lines of reporting cascade from the management structure, and communication follows a vertical flow upwards and downwards.

This size and scope of the organization and the complexities of the business sector will dictate the breadth of the management structure and the depth of the reporting structure.

Example

The division of works in management varies from industry to industry. Production industries’ structures are considerably different from service industries. Both categories benefit from areas of specialization.

1. Mobile Phone Production Requires Technical Specialization

Typically, the top management level would make business decisions and divide these into further areas of specialization.

In the mobile phone environment 4 key specializations are necessary:

  • Design
  • Technology
  • Technical assembly
  • Marketing

Each of these will have a direct line of reporting upwards and downwards and cross-discipline to finalize the product specifications, assembly requirements, and route to market.

2. Service Industries Require Management Specialization 

The division of works in a service industry has an altogether different structure. This structure has a three-pronged approach, with client service bringing together all 3 pillars. One structure element is aligned with a client’s requirements, another with the organization’s objectives, and a 3rd with an execution pipeline.

Client Service is a specialization of its own. The structure is complex and plays out similarly in most service-orientated businesses. Generally, a Client Service Representative is pivotal in this structure with a role and responsibilities that adapts to each client’s requirements.

Wrap-Up

Division of works in management is a structure that uses specialists instead of generalists. The advantages of a division of works structure are cost, production efficiencies, and time-saving. The quality is improved as specialists gain more experience in their fields. Reporting structures are streamlined. Success depends on a common direction within the organization.

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Jorge Raziel author of Thebestbusinessadvice

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