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Hierarchy refers to a system of organization that respects the chain of command whereby each agency is under supervision of a higher office. In many organizations, a group of managers is always above other employees in terms of knowledge and experience and is placed at the top while others follow based on their experience and the understanding of the organizational functions. Hierarchy is mostly present in government and other governmental institutions whereby each unit has its own powers, authority, and levels of management.
Hierarchy has been adopted in many organizations, including the Catholic Church whereby the Pope is the head followed by the Cardinals then Archbishops. Based on the chain of command, an individual communicates or reports to the immediate supervisor or the authority above him. Hierarchy was adopted mainly because it allows information flow given the fact that a junior officer cannot surpass the authority above him or her to report to the senior manager, unless it is necessary (Hill & Jones 2010, p. 17). Hierarchy plays an important role in any organization because it benefits the company and employees in the end.
Through hierarchy, the firm has the capability of developing with the potency of a proficient managerial workforce. Moreover, employees benefit from the services of the organization that serves to provide professional growth. This paper seeks to establish the relevance of hierarchy in understanding of management in modern organizations. It is established that hierarchy plays a critical role as far as the effectiveness of the management is concerned. Through research, it is factual that hierarchy plays four major roles in the management of the organization. These include development of the career path, strengthening of communication, ensuring accountability, and providing guidance. These roles will be discussed in detail.
Development of Career Path
Through hierarchy, each employee is in a position of developing his or her professional path. Hierarchy provides a clear outline for each employee, including that of the executive, the manager, and the supervisor. Each employee has a chance of understanding his or her role in the organization, which allows him or her to work hard to perfect the role. Employees are able to set their targets and objectives regarding their achievements in the organization. The management would always make use of hierarchy to motivate employees to take the organization to greater heights. In the modern society, an organization is faced with various challenges, one of them being retaining the best workforce.
In this regard, hierarchy is the best way through which an organization could overcome the challenge of high employee turnover. Many employees have always wanted to develop their careers, but organizational structures do not allow them to do so. Therefore, hierarchy allows the organization to create a chance that allows employee commitment through a reward system. To do this effectively, an organization is encouraged to scrutinize the career development strategies since it is not an expensive undertaking. For instance, an organization is encouraged to adopt pro-active –planning strategies through hierarchy, which leads to development of better decisions (Griffin & Moorehead, 2012, p. 21).
An organization that is able to assess the career goals for its employees is capable of retaining the highly performing workforce. Such a workforce could easily bring desirable change in the organization. Research shows that an organization with the ability to retain the best workforce is the chance of posting high profits. Moreover, organizations lose employees mainly because of monetary issues, lack of career development opportunities, difficulties in service delivery, and personal concerns regarding the relationships. Hierarchy resolves a number of these problems because it ensures that people are aware of their bosses, as well as their expectations. Hierarchy encourages an employee to be obedient and loyal to his or her immediate supervisor while senior officers are encouraged to address their juniors with respect and care. Such a relationship would always encourage a mutual coexistence that boosts the performance of the organization. In one of the studies that Right Management Consulting Firm conducted, it was found out that lack of career development and poor relationships are the leading causes of employee turnover.
As earlier explained, eliminating the barriers related to career development boosts the performance of the organization. This could only be achieved through the adoption of hierarchy. For an organization to achieve its goal of ensuring that the workforce is retained, it has to adopt the use of technology, as well as convening the needs of employees. Hierarchy provides all these because it encourages the senior management to understand the most pressing needs of junior officers, including family related problems. Hierarchy encourages career development support systems, which allow employees to focus on the future. An employee would definitely understand what it takes to succeed in an organization.
For instance, hierarchy helps employees by providing some of the mechanisms that would prevent burnout and overwork. Moreover, it integrates the various objectives of employees by setting a common goal, which provides that employees should ensure that their career goals are in line with the organization goal. If an organization fulfills the interests of the employee, such a worker would not look for career development opportunities elsewhere. A career path is defined as a premeditated, rational evolution of jobs within one or more vocations throughout working life. This implies that it should be developed through provision of psychoanalysis services, self-evaluation, and development opportunities (Miller 1992, p. 117). Hierarchy is known to provide all these services meaning that it supports career path development.
Through hierarchy, an organization is able to account for every unfinished or finished project. Some scholars and analysts believe that hierarchy is the worst system of management because it discourages employees from trying something different. However, research shows that it plays a critical role in safeguarding organizational resources, as well as training employees to work within the laws and rules. In any organizational unit, a junior accounting officer is expected to report to the senior accounting officer, who would in turn compile the data that would be offered to the operations officer of the whole department. Each employee should ensure that anything reported should be factual.
In case if any hiccup, the management is able to trace the problem and identify the officer who might have slept on the job (Bovens 2010, p. 947). In this case, the whole department would not pay costs for a mistake that a single officer committed. Through the hierarchy of accountability, the organization could achieve its alignment goals whereby the expectations of each employee are merged with those of the firm. Modern organizations are mainly focused on results, unlike traditional organizations, which were mainly focused on compliance with rules and regulations. This proves that things have changed greatly in the world of human resources.
In the traditional organizations, financial resources were considered the most important because they allowed the organization to achieve its goals. However, things have changed regarding this view because human resources are extremely important given the fact that they either make or break the organization. There is a general believe among human resources practitioners that employees are the most important resources that an organization could have. Through the workforce, the organization could achieve its technological and financial goals. Currently, organizations spent millions of dollars in terms of compensating and rewarding employees in order to retain them or encourage them to produce high results. To conduct all these, the organization needs to develop a strategic planning program that would facilitate accountability.
Strategic planning is considered the organizational tradition in the modern society because it allows the management to achieve its objectives. It is factual that strategic planning is a requirement for all firms wishing to achieve their objectives. Strategic planning can only take place in organizations that utilize hierarchy as their management tool. All employees should be answerable to a form of authority for them to develop their own values. Accountability is defined in terms responsibility, culpability, and liability meaning that in case a problem happens, the cause should be identified (Luban, Strudler & Wasserman1992, p. 2350).
In the corporate sector, the issue of accountability has always determined the success or the failure of any firm. In the public sector, many organizations and firms have closed down their operations owing to lack of accountability. All these are attributed to weak hierarchical systems whereby employees are not subjected to scrutiny. Hierarchy instills the values and principles of accountability to individuals. In this regard, there are various forms of accountability, ranging from political, ethical to individual accountability. Political accountability refers to the responsibilities that a public servant and other top government officials have towards to the public. For instance, the executive is answerable to the parliament since it represents the will of the people. On the other hand, the parliament is answerable to the people directly because they are elected after a predetermined period.
The public can recall their representative in parliament in case he or she is not accountable. Moreover, the members of parliament have the power to censure a government official through a motion of no confidence. Hierarchy allows a member to reevaluate his or her policy before going ahead to implement it. Regarding ethical accountability, members of the organization have a responsibility of ensuring that the environment is maintained clean. Moreover, the issue of sustainability is of essence when considering ethical accountability. The management should always ensure the new program adheres to the ideals of sustainable development whereby the next generation should be allowed to invest in a peaceful environment. Independent commissions allow the government to be accountable to its people because they act as watchdogs (Christopher 2006, p. 23).
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The issue of employee development in the organization takes place at all levels. For instance, an employee relies on the senior management for guidance and direction meaning that the senior staff has a main role of ensuring that relevant skills are imparted to junior workers. For senior managers, including the chief executive officer, they rely on the owners of the business for motivation and skills development. Owners of businesses are people with high skills and investment ideas given the fact they commit their funds to operations that many would not want to engage in. Hierarchy in this case plays a role of ensuring that an employee understands clearly, where he or she should be receiving orders from and the functioning of the whole system (Thompson 2005, p. 89).
In the organization, managers should strive to achieve high standards. For this to happen, they must be willing to embrace change. Change in many organizations is inevitable. This means that it will take place one day. However, resistance to change is the major problem facing many managers in the world. New ways of doing things are more effective and efficient. In the organization, the manager needs to challenge the exiting production process. This means that the leader must try to find out the new way of dealing with problems. Therefore, a leader should analyze the processes in the organization and identify the areas that need improvement. However, the leader should not implement policies without informing his or her juniors. In fact, a good leader should consult widely before coming up with a policy.
Hierarchy provides some of the ways through which a leader could resolve issues related to guidance. Whenever a leader feels like adjusting the work schedule, all employees must be informed in time. A good leader would provide mechanisms through which employees would fulfill their dreams. Employees should be provided with sufficient methods and tools that would help them in resolving internal and external conflicts. In some instances, an organization might be facing a great challenge. It is the responsibility of the leader to take precautionary actions. In this case, consultation would not be needed. The leader needs to show some bravery by encouraging members of the organization to work hard. The organization cannot achieve its objectives without employees. Without hierarchy therefore, there would be no opportunity for change (Bass 1985, p. 45).
Communication remains one of the most important tools in management. The market has become increasingly competitive owing to the emergence of modern advertisement such as the social media advertisement. As Chaston (2009, p. 78) states, the market is getting very competitive as the world embraces globalization. The world has been turned into a global village implying that distance is no longer an issue of concern to the management. An American company can now make its products in China and sell them in Indian market. The geographical barrier that existed before has been eliminated owing to the development of modern transport channels. Transport and communication has enhanced business processes. Firms can now go beyond their borders.
This is considered one of the biggest achievements in commerce. However, the organization should have a clear chain of command to enjoy the dynamics of the new market. The market has been expanded for large firms that can manage to operate globally. However, this also comes at a cost. While an American firm will have an advantage in the fact that the scope of the market is expanded, there will be a price to pay. Some of these challenges include breakdowns in communication, which could be resolved through improving communication. Hierarchy enables a firm to engage its employees in constant communication since a clear channel of informational flow is always present (Mcshane & Steen 2008, p. 33)
List of References
Bass, BM 1985, Leadership and performance beyond expectations, The Free Press, New York.
Bovens, M 2010, “Two concepts of accountability: accountability as a virtue and as a mechanism,” West European Politics, Vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 946–967.
Chaston, I 2009, New Marketing Strategies: Evolving Flexible Processes to Fit Market Circumstance, Sage Publications, London.
Christopher, W 2006, Leadership accountability in a globalizing world, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Griffin, RW & Moorehead, G 2012, Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations, Cengage Learning, Mason.
Hill, C & Jones, G 2010, Strategic management theory: an integrated approach, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Luban, D, Strudler, A & Wasserman, A 1992, “Moral Responsibility in the Age of Bureaucracy,” Michigan Law Review, Vol. 90, no. 1, pp. 2348-2392.
Mcshane, S & Steen, S 2008, Canadian Organizational behavior, Oxford University, Press Oxford, Oxford.
Miller, GJ 1992, Managerial dilemmas: The political economy of hierarchy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Thompson, D 2005, Restoring Responsibility: Ethics in Government, Business and Healthcare, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.