Work Structuring presents both a well developed theory and a practical, proven methodology for the creation of optimal organisational structures, based on team-working.
The Work Structuring approach was initially developed by Christian Schumacher in continuous process manufacturing in the chemical industry, at companies such as ICI, Philips, Reckitt & Coleman and others. It has since been used effectively in service organisations, such as hospitals, clinics, government departments and schools. The adaptability of Work Structuring to these very different types of organisations is attributable to its basic process orientation.
Work Structuring is a bottom-up methodology that starts with the key processes which define an organisation’s reason for being. In business terms, these are the processes that create or deliver products or services which meet the needs of customers.
Because the Work Structuring methodology is process-based, and the decisions around how it is applied in practice are made by people working in and on the key processes, it is highly flexible and universally applicable.
The optimal organisation allows for the right number of people to be organised efficiently and effectively around key business processes in such a way that employees can be maximally productive and creative in their work. In contrast, a poorly-structured organisation will guarantee confusion and inefficiencies, as well as barriers to quality and continuous improvement.
Work Structuring is arguably the most effective and objective means for creating the optimal organisational structure. It is significantly different from other restructuring approaches because:
- It builds the organisation up from the key business processes, using a clear, comprehensive methodology based on sound theory
- It allows for a logical and efficient thinning of management levels
- It replaces ‘supervision and management by inspection’, with leadership and empowerment
- It builds a flexible framework for reviewing and streamlining job design through process improvement and multi-skilling
- It has been used successfully by major companies throughout the UK and overseas, with demonstrable results
- It is implemented by the staff and management of the organisation (assisted by consultants expert in the theory and methodology), not imposed from outside
- It creates teams who can ‘Plan, Do and Evaluate’ their own work thus forming the basis for pushing the maximum authority and responsibility down to where it is needed most;
- It lays the foundation for team-working and the development of a continuous improvement culture
- It enhances internal and external customer supplier relations by creating working teams who have clear responsibility and control over complete aspects of product manufacturing or service delivery
- People like it and find it both fair and effective. It gives employees at all levels a clear framework within which they are able to take pride and initiative in their work