Organisational Structure - Difficulty with a business stream approach


David Mullins

I'm having difficulty with a business stream approach to organisational structure, and I'm looking for ideas if anyone has experienced this or resolved this problem.

Fundamentally the company has approx 100 employees spread through six offices throughout Australia and two in Asia. They didn't have any form of org structure to start with, which makes it interesting trying to define levels of authority and the like.

In attempting to get agreement (unsuccessfully) on slotting people into certain levels and groups, the board didn't like the way the existing structure was looking, and is attempting to re-structure it from a location and skills based methodology to alignment with our 5 main customer business streams of:

Defence and aerospace,
Building, construction and infrastructure,
Power and process and

The main problem centres around the recruitment of Business Development Managers (BDM), one for each business group. They get commission on the $ volume of work performed under their industry group, so the more work they muster, the more they get paid. However, they have no relationship with those personnel who control the local office resources, or do the work. The BDM may be one state and the job in another 4000Km away. So how can the BDMs ensure the work prospect is followed through? Basically the BDMs don't want to know, they want to expect that the work will just occur.

Any thoughts?


Jim Biz


Why would they not want to know if their
$ were results based?

Is a "busines development manager" a three word title for salesperson or are there other responsibilities involved?

David Mullins

1. The job control system they're using hasn't worked properly since September '98, and it is a separate system at each office (and the reports it generates are unreliable except for the job number and details, and the invoiced $). Additionally, the Finance package used at head office is different again, so all the important details/data are forwarded to HQ and re-entered so that a financial report can be generated each month (stop laughing, you should be crying). BUT, the client type, job type and industry code (for each job/project) is captured, and reports are retrievable against these parameters (reliable?).

2. Yes, a business development manager is like a salesperson, except they don't get involved in the delivery of the product/service as such. Their task is to increase the volume of work $ generated by drumming up more work, more customers, etc.. Seems to involve lots of trips, drinks, lunches, dinners, and ego stroking. Come to think of it, maybe we're paying them too much!

One possibility for the structure is a matrix approach, but I want to make the picture (chart, diagram, etc) clear for people to comprehend at a glance, i.e. see where they fit in to the organisation.

Ideas please?


Jim Biz

When we started to "gather information" here to construct an organization picture what we did was fairly simple. Not sure it will work for you but we went to each employee & asked "Who do you report to"? - Then went to the managers and asked "Who reports to you?

And often we laughed (and cried too)- at the results.... Some thought they had 3 supervisors - some thought they worked independently and in fact reported to no one.

We took the employee information & mapped it out without regard for who "management" thought they should report to. Then said to ourselves "SELF" does this make business sense?

Not sure this answers your question but it may be a place to start.


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!

I might suggest that you take an alternate approach to creating the Organizational Chart. Here is what I propose.

Use Deming's View of a System to explain relaitionships.

In your job descriptions, show the reporting hierarchy of the organization.

The View of the System will need to be modified a bit from the format presented by Deming for the fact it demonstrates a single organizational system. If I understand your posts correctly, the boundaries of your system spread to multiple locations. Include this in you modified view.

I hope this helps.



p.s. Jim, isn't it amazing how things are perceived by people within a System? Cry and laugh they did I am sure. Hopefully, more laughing.
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