The aircraft industry is known to be one of the most delicate mostly because of the high level of maintenance needed in this area. The maintenance facility deals with extreme computerization and automation in order to serve the needs of an airline organization and most cases, errors in the maintenance department have been explained as being caused by insufficient attention. Given the nature of the aircraft industry, organizational change is not anything new in the maintenance department. Different jobs and positions are always being restructured, streamlined or removed while others are created. Different organization structures are therefore required in order to serve these increasing changes in the airline maintenance facilities. While this is the case, efficiency, maximum performance and high levels of production are needed in such a facility. Given that organizational structure affect performances, it is necessary to determine the exact effects of organizational structure on team work, job design, reward system and selection and training in an aircraft maintenance facility.
Organizational structure is the organization of workers in any business organization and the relationship amongst them. The role of structure is to aid in achieving a company’s objectives and lead to better utilization of resources and people. Many forms of organizational structures exist and all these are influenced by different factors like the complexity, size and purpose of an organization’s tasks. The same structure is influenced by the culture and the external environment of an organization. Other things that influence structure include the products and services produced by the organization.
One of the business structures that is known and used in many organizations is the hierarchical structure. In this structure, layers of business exist and the higher layers tend to have more power than the layers below them. Decisions are mostly and quickly made by those on the top layer of the organization. Because of this, communication in this structure tends to be slower since the message must go through all the organization’s layers. The other type of structure is the flat or horizontal structures. In this case, fewer layers exist and this makes decision making process to include several groups in a layer. This type of structure mostly works well when the workers are skilled and are also motivated workers. Apart from the two discussed structures, there is also the matrix structures, which serves businesses’ needs to utilize people with different skills and to draw people from different business functional areas like operations, finance, marketing and human resource. The matrix structures can easily be organized differently such as teams in order to complete a certain project. This is because of the unique purpose of this structure which is to gather workers together who have a range of essential skills so as to complete certain projects. In most cases, teams in this structure tend to be somewhat short term since most are disbanded immediately the project comes into completion.
An aircraft maintenance structure, which is majorly interested with an entrepreneurial and innovative culture cannot work well with a hierarchical structure and because of this, a flat structure, which is team-driven would work well in such a facility. Because of the ability to communicate among individuals, teams in such a structure would be highly motivated and empowered. Everyone in the team would have access to coaching and advice provided by different team leaders in the facility. Team members and other employees would also have the ability to freely suggest improvements and ask questions. In addition, this type of structure would allow flexibility and creativity, all which are important in encouraging and strengthening teams. This is also the case with risk taking since a flat structure would give room for risk taking, which would also strengthen teams and encourage team work. When employees come together as teams, it would be possible to meet the challenging needs especially those related to computerization and automation. Such a structure also encourages people from different departments to work together and this would be the case in an aircraft facility whose organizational structure is flat or horizontal.
Teams would also use different skills, experience and strengths in order to provide excellent services and products. These can be strengthened by other things such as coming up with small sizeable teams that shares a general purpose and supports and respects each other. This can also be strengthened using highly committed teams who are very interested in achieving targets and understanding the role and allocated to each of the team members. When these factors are coupled with the ability of the team members to share and generate ideas and the ability to conduct open communication among the team members, the results can be astounding.
This is because open and effective communication, as mentioned earlier, is easy in a horizontal and a matrix structure more than it is in a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical structure’s problem is that the control exerted on members is high and this control can lead to communication problems. This, as explained earlier, can also be caused by the tall structure which leads to rigidity and inflexibility within the structure. The hierarchical structure can therefore suffocate innovation, ideas and creativity, all which leads to effective teams.
Job design refers to an organization’s process of choosing a job’s contents in relation to a job’s responsibilities and duties. Job design also involves an explanation of the methods used in accomplishing the job in terms of systems, techniques and procedures. It also involves the choosing of relationships that need to be there between the supervisor and job holder and also among subordinates and colleagues. An aircraft facility can use job design and redesign in order to improve its productivity through challenge offering, repetitive reduction or increasing of responsibility especially when the job involves a lot of computerization and automation.
Different techniques of job design exist. These include job rotation, which is a form of a job design that helps in developing workers’ motivation outlook, increasing their productivity and improving the performance of an organization. Job rotation also provides new chances of improving the skills, thoughts, attitudes and capabilities of workers. Job rotation also involves employees doing their tasks in different levels within the organization. Another aspect of job design is job enlargement whereby individual workers are allowed to establish their own pace although with some limits. Job enlargement also allows employees to be their own inspectors through providing them with responsibility to control quality control and to mend their own mistakes. It also provides employees with the ability to be responsible for setting their own machine and repairing them. The other aspect of job design is job enrichment whereby employees’ self-rule in relation to execution and planning of their work is allowed. This is similar to job enlargement because of the ability to motivate employees but the advantage of providing workers with much autonomy.
Different organization structures are likely to affect job design differently. A hierarchical structure, unlike a flat structure, is likely to suppress job design since job rotation and enlargement is not allowable in this structure. In addition, fewer projects are likely to be approved in a hierarchical structure than a flat decision structure. A hierarchical structure, because of this ability, is likely to makes fewer errors because employees mistakes are not allowed. In a hierarchical structure, job approval must be made by two or more people meaning that any project requires stringent measures. Fewer decisions are therefore, likely to be made in a hierarchical structure because of these many required approval. On the other hand, only one person is required for job evaluation in a flat structure, because of this more job decisions are likely to be made in a flat structure. Workers work in parallel in a flat structure and therefore can do more jobs than each can when alone. When this is applied in an aircraft’s maintenance facility, each project completed must be appraised by different levels of management before it can be accepted in a hierarchical structure. Therefore, many projects obtain an initial screening and fewer mistakes are likely although fewer jobs are approved. This means that in a hierarchical structure, jobs can easily be rejected because of failures of evaluation because of the hierarchical decision making structure. Because of this, employee motivation is less likely in a hierarchical structure. A flat structure can however overcome the effects of high mistakes by overcoming the weakness of failure of job approval. This can be done by making sure that every project is reviewed all the involved parties. For example, when the employees are two, a job can be reviewed by one and then by the other and vice versa. When both agree on a jobs quality, then the decision becomes obvious. However, if they disagree, reconciling the difference is needed by using some other rules.
In a hierarchical structure, the amount of tasks and decisions an employee performs are many meaning that the more tasks, the more the decisions that one worker must make. This is not the case with a flat structured organization. Job design in a hierarchical organization is therefore likely to be less enriched since jobs enrichment takes place when a job is part of more multifaceted, inter-reliant production processes. A flat organization, on the other hand is likely to have the opposite meaning that it has an enriched job since job in this case are part of more multifaceted, inter-reliant production processes.
Since job enrichment is related to worker empowerment, which takes place over time, jobs in a hierarchical structure are likely to increase employee empowerment when compared with flat organizations. Jobs in hierarchical structures are also likely to include many tasks in the same job because one employee might be involved in completing a certain task. This is not the case with a flat structure since working together of employees allows them to handle different tasks. Since the number and kind of tasks provided to a worker is linked to the worker’s skills, there is a more likelihood that a flat structure develops employees’ skills than the hierarchical structure.
A hierarchical structure, unlike a flat structure is however likely to give room for multitasking skills since a worker ca perform different tasks as others are not aiding him/her. The team working abilities in a flat structure, on the other hand are likely to suppress a worker’s multitasking abilities since the others are always there for the worker. Since sometimes the tasks are not associated with the job, a multitasking worker might be more beneficial to the organization.
Workers in a hierarchical structure can therefore have higher levels of flexibility, know different number of tasks and can therefore fill for others in the same organization. This is especially of high value in a small facility or firm since one person who knows a huge number of tasks have higher flexibility to fill in for others. Therefore, there is little for a department to transfer one agent to another department since one agent is familiar with all tasks and he or she can put her focus on the straight responsibilities needed. Multiskilling would be therefore of high importance in a hierarchical organization since it can prevent a whole facility from being shut-down when there is little skills available. This is especially so n a small firm since this provides precious flexibility. Because of the nature of multiskilling, there is more likelihood that it will help a hierarchical organizations’ communication will be increased since communication between individuals in such cases is enhanced even when they work on different jobs.
This is also so because it is much easier to discuss about an issue with a worker who is familiar with the job situation than a worker who is totally unfamiliar with a certain area. In a maintenance facility, for example, an electrician and manager who are part of the maintenance crew are likely to help one another communication is likely, fewer mistakes are likely and quality of job done is likely to be high. On the other hand, multitasking is can also be possible in a flat structure when an organization has high skilled employees. Because of the team abilities in this structure and the highly interdependence of workers, maximum benefits are likely. Since teamwork increases innovation, multitasking can assist in providing more innovations through the different mechanisms used by workers. Because of the high computerization of a maintenance department, multitasking, which includes an individual knowing many features of production together with increased communication can make it easier to come up with improving technology.
Reward systems are important in all organization and when they fit within an organization’s system, it becomes possible for organizations to impact the quality of life and its people’s experiences. In a hierarchical organization, the problem is the higher an employee’s level, the more compensation and prestige that an employee receives. This does not take into considerations some specific personal contributions. In a hierarchical organization the structure is too inflexible and gives no room for contribution-based compensation since the institutionalized environment only allows a worker’s past contributions to explain his/her compensation instead of the current contributions. This is very dangerous in an environment that is rapidly changing and has a competitive environment since workers are not likely to be motivated and their production is likely to be low. A hierarchical structure is also more likely to have bosses who are happy with their current pay and are therefore less likely to push for better compensation and reward systems of their subordinates.
However, a flat organization structure has an ever-changing and interdependent work structure and so is the compensation. The structure takes consideration of the knowledge and worker contribution no matter the level. For example, genius programmers are likely to be paid more than those with standard skills. In a flat structure, the most valuable contributors are therefore likely to gain the biggest rewards. In addition, the recent work contributions count more and employees are likely to work hard in order to keep up with the phase. Because of this reason, working becomes more fun for employees in a flat structure. This is enhanced by the fact that the system is transparent and open because of the communication abilities in this structure.
An organization’s success is largely dependent on the selection and training process since the best people are obtained during these exercises. This process is affected by organization structure and is different in organizations based on the structure they use. An organization with a flat structure is likely to seek employees with team based characteristics and is likely to train employees in this area. The same organization is also likely to train its employees in teams instead of training them as individuals. This is unlike a hierarchical organization where employees are likely to be determined by their single characteristics.
This is also the same case with the staffing process since in a flat organization staffing is likely to be done in a team based manner. The flat organization is therefore less likely to hire employees who has the most impressive education and credentials or education since this doesn’t guarantee that they are the ones who will provide the organization with a hundred percent job performance.
An organization with a flat structure is also likely to emphasize more on personality and on employees that can work well with everyone including the ability to come good ideas. This is unlike in hierarchical organizations, which are more likely to emphasize on those that can work independently. They are also likely to look for employees who strictly follow rules and always remember to make sure that they check with their managers before working on a certain tasks in order to avoid causing of problems. This means that reliable and trustworthy employees are likely to be emphasized by an organization that is more hierarchical although this does not mean that flat structured organizations do not love trust.
In conclusion, the aircraft industry is delicate and high of maintenance is needed in this area. Therefore, a maintenance facility is tasked with serving the needs of maintenance requirements of the aircraft industry with minimal errors, which are mainly caused by insufficient attention. Because of this, different organization structures are used to serve the needs of a maintenance facility and these structures have different effects on team work, reward system, staff training and job design. Unlike a hierarchical structure, a flat structure is team-driven and there is more communication among individuals. Teams in such a structure are highly motivated and empowered. In addition, everyone in the team are likely to access advice provided by different team leaders in the facility and are also likely to freely suggest improvements and ask questions. However, on job design, a hierarchical structure, unlike a flat structure, is likely to suppress job design since job rotation and enlargement is not allowable in this structure. In addition, fewer projects are likely to be approved in a hierarchical structure than a flat decision structure. A hierarchical structure, because of this ability, is likely to makes fewer errors because employees mistakes are not allowed. In a hierarchical structure, job approval must be made by two or more people meaning that any project requires stringent measures. Because of this, a flat structure is better than a hierarchical structure in an aircraft maintenance facility.