III.A.3 Interdependence of Functional Areas
The concept of an organization consisting of a system of interacting processes is widely accepted. The quality management system standard ISO 9001 stresses this concept, up to a point. (ISO 9001 doesn’t specifically include all the functions of an organization.) The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is more inclusive, covering all the functional components of the business. Yet, in spite of the emphasis placed on systems thinking, many organizations still consist of functional silos or fiefdoms. Such internal silos tend to foster dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors, such as (partial list):
- Optimizing the operation of the subunit to the detriment of the overall organization. (Referred to as sub optimization.)
- Having a “that’s not my job” attitude—throw it over the wall for the next unit to worry about.
- Inhibiting interunit communication and keeping knowledge in the unit.
- Hiding mistakes. Don’t tell, it could make us look bad.
- Competing—attempting to get all the resources we can get, regardless of other units’ needs.
- Protecting the boss’s reputation at all costs, so he or she will protect us.
- Being wary of the units who provide product or services to us, and the units to which we provide product or services.
- Ignoring the external customer—unless we are in sales or customer service, we have nothing to do with them.
- Making sure we spend all the budget money allocated to us. If we don’t, next year’s allotment may be reduced.
- Resisting efforts to enlist our unit’s people in cross-functional teams.
The structuring of an organization into semiautonomous work units or departments developed with the hierarchical, autocratically run organization. The emphasis in this type of organization is centralization of decision making (power and control), the specialization (education and experience) of the incumbents, and a focus on maintaining the status quo.
Quality Management BOK Reference
III Management Elements and Methods
III.A Management Skills and Abilities
III.A.3 Interdependence of functional areas - Describe the interdependence of an organization’s areas (human resources, engineering, sales, marketing, finance, research and development, purchasing, information technology, logistics, production, and service) and how those dependencies and relationships influence processes and outputs.
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