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The design of the facilities management organization is ultimately the responsibility of the chief facilities officer. While others may be called on to participate in designing the organizational structure, to react to designs, to provide suggestions, or to help in planning implementation, it is ultimately the leader’s job to actively shape the organization. Management’s job is to turn complexity and specialization into performance. To ignore organization design is to throw away a potentially powerful tool for building effective and efficient organizations. This chapter is concerned with the big-picture of the organization and its major departments.

Educational Facilities Management (EFM) organizations; small, medium, or large have characteristics in common but also many differences. The definition of organization used in this chapter is taken from “Organization Theory and Design-Tenth Edition by Richard L. Daft and is as follows: “organizations are social entities that are goal directed, are designed as deliberately structured and coordinated activity systems, and are linked to the external environment.”1

Organizational design and structure is a vast complex area of study and a single chapter on the topic cannot begin to provide a complete survey of the field. The objective of this chapter is to help people to understand Educational Facility Management organization design and structure. In this chapter, we will address the most prevalent communities of practice in Educational Facilities Management organizational structural forms discovered from digging deep into existing college and university facilities management organization structures and from extensive reading of books and professional periodicals on this topic. This experience and learning supports the theory that while organizational design is not the answer to all problems in organizations, it frequently is an important component of significant efforts to enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness. More than anything else, where the lines are drawn depends on what the organization is trying to accomplish and how it is trying to improve.

No two organizations are exactly alike and differences matter. In most instances, the right thing to do in organizational design truly depends on the circumstances; the organizations history, mission, strategy, resources, the institutional context, scale, and scope, and the organizations external environment are almost always different from one institution to another and these differences must be considered when designing organizations. Experience teaches that organizational change can be disruptive and cause confusion. As you read through this chapter, keep one central thought in mind; the typical picture of an organization is a version of a pyramidal organization chart. The focus of this picture views the most critical factor of an organization as a stable or static structure with formal relationships among jobs and work units. Although this is one way to think about organizations, it is only one part of the picture. As we understand more about organizations, we begin to see that our picture excludes other important http://bok.appa.org/images such as leadership behavior, the impact of the environment and institutional context, informal relationships, and the flow of information and decision making power. Organization is much more than just a system or a set of lines and boxes. We will learn that it is not just about how we draw the lines and arrange the boxes; it’s also about why we do so and who we put into those boxes that matter also.

This chapter also provides a historical setting so that we might better understand how many of today’s organizational design principles and elements evolved. This chapter explains why organizational lines are drawn the way they are and then redrawn the way they are. It will provide answers to why it seem like we are changing our minds all the time, constantly redrawing the lines. Joan Magretta in her insightful book “What Management Is”2 states that “the reason we are constantly redrawing the lines is because “the design of an organization is implicit in its strategy, so much so that it is hard to tell where strategy leaves off and organization begins. Because strategy is dynamic, organizations must be flexible. Drawing the lines of organization is an ongoing struggle to stay relevant. Not a job done once and for all.” Magretta emphasizes that management’s job requires it to draw three different kinds of lines:

  • First, the boundary lines, which separate what’s inside and what’s outside.
  • Second, the lines of the organization chart, which map how the whole is divided into working units, and how each part relates to the other.
  • Third, are the sometimes invisible, but always important, lines of authority. These determine who gets to decide what, and how the internal organization really works.

So, what should your organization look like? How should you organize? And where should you draw the lines?

In the concluding section of this chapter, "A New Organizational View," we explore the need to rethink the organization to help us recognize how Educational Facilities Management work has changed and consequently how to use organizational structure to find new ways of delivering products and services.

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