Principles of Organizational Structure
Many of Fayol’s principles of management concern how the parts of an organization should be put together. Six principles deal specifically with organizational structure:
• Scalar chain: An organization should be arranged in a strict vertical hierarchy and that communication should be largely limited to this vertical flow (i.e., move up and down the organizational chart).
• Unity of command: An employee should receive orders regarding a particular task from only one supervisor.
• Unity of direction: Activities having similar goals should be placed under a single supervisor.
• Division of labor: Work can best be accomplished if employees are assigned to a limited number of specialized tasks.
• Order: There should be an appointed place for each employee and task within the organization.
• Span of control: Managers will be most effective if they have control of a limited number of employees. Fayol generally suggests a limit of twenty to thirty employees for first-level managers and six employees for higher-level managers.
Case Study Guidelines:
Case studies are provided for students to analyze, evaluate and synthesize course material. Each prompt and questions are derived from the course text. Please make sure each case study is at least 3 pages and written in APA format and style. Follow the directions provided below:
Jackie Hollings is the director of Kid‑Care, a day care center and preschool. Kid‑Care employs 25 teachers who work in six different rooms: the infant care room, two different toddler rooms, the preschool room, and the “after school adventure” room. Most of the teachers work 8‑hour shifts, either from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and each teacher is responsible for between five and eight kids, depending on the age group. Although Jackie believes that her staff is well trained and highly committed, she has noticed several disturbing trends among the teachers. First, the turnover rate at Kid‑Care runs at close to 80% per year. Although Jackie knows that this rate is representative of the day care industry, she wants to lower it. Second, the teachers have been taking an unusually high number of sick days. Although some of the illnesses can be attributed to caring for sick kids, Jackie does not think this accounts for the entire problem. Third, she has noticed that many of the teachers are just not as excited about their jobs as they were when they first joined Kid‑Care. The teachers are no longer taking the initiative to make decorations for the classroom or to plan special projects. It seems that all they can do is to show up and just get the job done.
Not surprisingly, Jackie has concluded that she is dealing with a serious burnout problem at Kid‑Care. But what exactly is causing the burnout, and what can she do to deal with it? Jackie decides to hold confidential meetings with the teachers to get a better handle on the problem. She assures them that she is just trying to understand the problem and that she wants frank and honest responses. Here is what a few of the teachers say in the meetings.
Amanda, a 35‑year‑old teacher in the young toddler room who has been teaching at Kid‑Care for five years: “No, I don’t like my job anymore, but what else can I do? Child care is all I’ve been trained for, and I’d just as soon work here as anywhere else. But it grinds on me. Some of those kids are just plain brats—they don’t have any discipline at home and I get tired of providing it here. So I just let them run around and don’t really do all that I could to get through to them. I used to care more about it, but I’m not sure caring did any good.”
Min, a 21‑year‑old teacher in the infant room who has been with Kid‑Care for eight months: “Oh, I adore taking care of the babies; sure, they get frustrating, but it’s not their fault. Once you learn the routine, it’s not too tough. You know what bugs me the most is the parents. Most of them are fine, but some of them are real jerks. They think we don’t know anything and treat us like dirt. And we have to be nice to them and say ‘Yes, Mrs. Smith’ and ‘Of course, Mr. Jones.’ Sometimes I’d just like to give them a piece of my mind and let them know what it’s like to take care of their babies all day, but of course that’s not allowed, so I just hold my tongue and keep being nice.”
Sara, a 28‑year‑old teacher in the preschool room who has been with Kid‑Care for 16 months: “Jackie, it’s not just this place that’s stressing me out, it’s everything. I’ve got a kid of my own to deal with and my husband isn’t much help. So, in the morning, I’ve got to get my son up and dressed and ready for school, get him to school, then get the house cleaned up before I leave the house to get to work by 10:00. Then I don’t get home till 6:30 and my evening’s shot with getting dinner on the table, helping Jeremy with his homework, getting him to bed, doing the laundry, you name it. You know, handling a roomful of screaming 4‑year‑olds seems almost calming sometimes!”
Elaine, the 30‑year‑old assistant director of Kid‑Care who works with Jackie in the administrative office: “I know there isn’t much you can do about it, Jackie, but this place is really a zoo. I have enough trouble keeping track of the staff, let alone the parents, the kids, the programs, the regulations. What a headache!”
Janeen, a 17‑year‑old teacher’s aide who helps out in the infant room: “You know, Miss Hollings, I like working here and I’m learning a lot, but it’s got me thinking. I thought I wanted to work in child care and maybe get a degree in child development. But I’m not sure it’s worth it. I don’t expect to get paid much as an aide, but even teachers who have been here for years don’t get paid much—and I’m not sure they get much respect from anyone either. People think it’s just baby-sitting—they don’t understand how difficult the job is. Taking care of one baby is tough enough, but dealing with 10 or 12 at a time takes a special kind of person. I find myself wondering if I’m really cut out for this kind of work.”
Jackie has come out of her meetings with the staff feeling both enlightened and frustrated. Burnout at Kid‑Care certainly isn’t a simple problem that can be addressed with simple solutions. But at least she now has some information she can work with.
In an essay, that is at least 3 pages, answer the following:
- Provide a brief summation of the case study and how it relates to the course content.
- Choose one of the theories from the course reading this week and describe how it relates to this case study.
- How would you characterize the causes of burnout for the various staff members Jackie interviewed? Are the causes of burnout consistent for the different staff members? What role has communication played in contributing to stress and burnout at Kid‑Care?
- What strategies would you suggest to Jackie to help her deal with burnout at Kid‑Care? Are there solutions that could help the entire staff, or does each employee need to be dealt with individually? What sources and types of social support would be most effective for dealing with the problems expressed by the teachers at Kid‑Care?
- As Jackie recruits new teachers for Kid‑Care, how should she best prepare them for the stresses and strains they will encounter on the job? Are there any socialization practices that might help future teachers avoid the problems encountered by Amanda, Min, Sara, Elaine, and Janeen?