Discussion: The Middle Managers

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Discussion: The Middle Managers

Discussion: The Middle Managers

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IS are typically used to store and communicate information and to support the information needs of managers throughout the hierarchy. IS convey the decisions of top managers downward and data from operations are sent upward through the hierarchy using IS. Hierarchical structures are also very compatible with efforts to organize and manage data centrally. The data from operations that have been captured at lower levels and conveyed through IS increasingly need to be consolidated, managed, and made secure at a high level. The data are integrated into databases that are designed so that employees at all levels of the organization can see the information that they need when they need it. Often there is an information dashboard for executives, a system that provides a summary of key performance indicators (KPIs). Each level of KPI has additional detail behind it and executives can drill down into the details as necessary. For example, a KPI revealing lower profitability might have been caused by higher costs or lower sales, and managers would need to drill down through additional levels of information to understand why the KPI changed. Managers throughout the hierarchy often have similar dashboards with the KPIs for their organi- zation so that up and down the hierarchy, managers are looking at the same information consolidated for their level of decision making.

Flat Organizational Structure In contrast to the hierarchical structure, the flat, or horizontal, organizational structure has a less well‐defined chain of command. You often don’t see an actual organization chart for a flat organization because the relationships are fluid and the jobs are loosely defined. That is, drawing an organization chart for a flat organization is like trying to tie a ribbon around a puddle. In flat organizations, everyone does whatever needs to be done to conduct business. There are very few “middle managers.” For this reason, flat organizations can respond quickly to dynamic, uncer- tain environments. Entrepreneurial organizations, as well as smaller organizations, often use this structure because they typically have fewer employees, and even when they grow, they initially build on the premise that everyone must do whatever is needed.

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