Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Methods Of Horizontal Coordination

Horizontal growth refers to an increase in the breadth of an organization's structure. If the company continuous to grow it will eventually need specialist areas as personnel, accounting, financing, and so on.

Jay R. Galbraith argues that the more organizations need to process information in the course of producing their product or services, the more methods of horizontal coordination they will need to use. Three major means that are particularly useful in facilitating horizontal coordination are slack resources, information systems and lateral relations.

Slack resources is a cushion of resources that facilitates adaption to internal and external pressures, as well as initiation of changes. A particularly important function of slack resources is that they can help foster creativity and innovation. The latitude in resource use makes it possible for individuals to collaborate on projects in which they have a high interest, thus increasing the likelihood of creative breakthroughs.

Information systems is important and growing means of horizontal coordination, particularly computerized ones, to coordinate various parts of organizations. I consider information systems further in Chapter 8.

Lateral relations is the coordination of efforts through communicating and problem solving with peers in other departments or units, rather than referring most issues up the hierarchy for consideration. Major means of lateral relations are direct contact, liaison roles, task forces, teams, and managerial integrators.

Direct contact is communication between two or more persons at similar levels in different work units for purposes for coordinating work and solving problems.

A liaison role is a role to which a specific individual is appointed to facilitate communication and resolution of issues between two or more departments.

A task force is a temporary interdepartmental group usually formed to make recommendations on a specific issue.

Teams are either temporary or ongoing groups that are expected to solve problems and implement solutions related to a particular issue or area.

A managerial integrator is a separate manager who is given the task of coordinating related work that involve sseveral functional departments (e.g., project manager, product manager, brand manager).