I am struck by how an organization places all the required tasks that were once performed by other organizational members on an existing organizational member who has distinct roles and responsibilities prior to staffing changes. Certain employees moved on to other jobs but their positions are not filled. As a result, the organization that once had a division of labor has become one that is unstructured and is somewhat disorganized.
As those positions are not filled, the existing member who has the most experienced and has a broad-based work experience was asked to carry those tasks. The organization discussed here eventually expanded the mission and added more staff to the existing structure. Consequently, there are added assignments but the structure remains the same. All of these added functions are new, and the vacated positions remain unfilled. Additional workload due to the increase of staff size increases the complexity and the responsibilities of the existing staff who has already taken on in whole or in part of the duties that were once carried out by those who left the organization.
The roles and responsibilities in this new structure are not sufficiently supporting the organization that is being discussed with respect to what an effective organization is required. As employees leave or are being added to the organization, it is necessary to review the roles and responsibilities and to ensure that no one has to take on the extra load as human beings have limitations. While certain employees may be willing to take on additional responsibilities to support the mission under a severe staffing crisis, they should not be taken for granted. As more staff are added, the organization needs to think of who will support the administrative functions of these new personnel and to review the division of labor and organizational structure.
Organizational structure is the manner in which an organization divides its labor into specific tasks and achieves coordination among these tasks. Organizational structure intervenes between goals and organizational accomplishments, and thus influences organizational effectiveness. Structure affects how effectively and efficiently group effort is coordinated. Labor has to be divided because individuals have physical and intellectual limitations. No reasonable person can take on so many added responsibilities and tasks that were the duties of others for so long as the effectiveness of the organization will be eventually impacted by this unreasonable workload.
Each organization has structure and a division of labor to ensure that work will be carried out to accomplish the mission and no single person should be required to take on so many distinct roles in this “division of labor” as positions are left unfilled. Employees have physical and intellectual limitations. Organizational structure and division of labor must be reviewed and reorganized every time there are changes in staffing levels to ensure that the workload will be fairly distributed among organizational members and to ensure a long term survival for both employees and the organization. Do not take anything for granted. Leaders and senior managers should be fair in workload distribution and care for the welfare of their employees. You will regret not to do the right thing. Are you aware of a similar situation? I would like to hear your story~ Dr. Phuong Le Callaway, (PhD) in Organization and Management/Human Resource Management.