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Syngenta is a global plant science business that has over time been committed to promoting sustainable agricultural production through research and innovation. The company has a staff of more than 24,000 in more than 90 countries world wide. Syngenta was founded in 2000 through a merger between the agricultural divisions of Novartis and Zeneca. The company boasts of a wide range of product lines in garden plants, crop protection and professional products.
This case study analyses the internal business environment of Syngenta, and especially its organizational structure. More specifically, the study seeks to illustrate on how the company operates through its matrix organizational structure. In the case study, the organizational structure of the company will be illustrated using its organizational chart. The case will also analyze the appropriateness of departmentalization as well as its implications for authority and job design. The evaluation will be concluded by a recommendation on the most appropriate structure that Syngenta can adopt to increase its organizational efficiency.
In order to effectively fulfill its mission, an organization needs to operate within a structure that is best suited for its core business operations (Haberberg & Rieple, 2001). Large businesses are conventionally divided into functional areas. The structure of Syngenta is divided into research and development, manufacturing, human resources, finance, sales and marketing, and information systems.
Organizations are often structured within layers of authority. The number of these levels depends on whether the business assumes a flat or hierarchical structure. A hierarchical structure consists of many layers of management each having a narrow extent of control. Instructions are directed downwards from top management, while feedback comes fro the lower levels of the hierarch towards the top management. On the other hand, a flat line organizational structure is the one in which there are a few levels of management (Haberberg & Rieple, 2001). Contrary to the hierarchical structure, managers in flat line organizational structure have a wide span of control. Due to the vast responsibilities that each manager has, delegation of duties and responsibilities is necessary.
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Syngenta is committed to team empowerment and hence a hierarchical structure is not suitable for its innovative orientation. The company has adopted a matrix system of organizational structure.
The organizational structure of Syngenta as illustrated above shows a typical hierarchical structure in a commercial business. The structure is composed of four functional areas as indicated earlier. For instance, the accounts department is made up of three layers of hierarchy: an accounts director, a manager and three assistants.
A matrix organizational structure is often termed as the project team structure (Haberberg & Rieple, 2001). Team leaders are assigned specific tasks and projects. As such, each team will consist of members from various departments, each with their own areas of specialization and expertise but related to the project under management. With this type of arrangement, it takes employees with different expertise to work with other employees taken out of their usual functional areas. This ensures that the project is well endowed with all the skills needed to achieve the set targets. It also implies that employees will benefit from skills and expertise exhibited by their team members from different departments.
In the matrix system of organizational structure, there are instances whereby teams are formed just for a short period of time. They are later disbanded upon completion of the project or task assigned. Other teams often take longer period of time, or even permanent before they are disbanded due to the nature of their projects. Therefore, the matrix system is not an alternative structure to functional management but can be used to work alongside it.
However, there are other implications of this type of organizational structure on the overall functionality and efficiency of team members. The functional areas of the organization mostly work independently as departments and also in collaboration with each other. There is a need to specify instances in which a particular department has to perform independently or dependently (Haberberg & Rieple, 2001). This will help to reduce incidences of misconceptions and poor coordination among team members.
There might also be confusion concerning the leadership styles among team members. Most of the team leaders often play an intermediary role between the top management and lower staff. In case a team has been composed to perform on a certain project and this team has several managers from various departments, this may result into a conflict of management styles among these leaders. Most of research scientists at Syngenta are not assigned specific research departments to exploit their expertise, but are rather alternated in different departments such as marketing that have completely new concepts for them. With this type of distractions, scientists are moved around different departments and involved in various tasks that might erode their specialized skills for which they were employed.
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At Syngenta, the concept of innovation is mixed up with the concept of openness to experience. The employees are encouraged to be open with their experiences and increase their innovative skills. This may not be an effective way of encouraging creativity among employees.
The appropriate organizational structure at Syngenta should be the one that not only emphasizes on team building but should also incorporate leadership skills since the organization has an environment of diversification and innovation. As such, team members should not only be placed in multi-skilled teams but also be allowed to work in their specialized teams. Teams should not be randomly composed with members being forced to work with others against their wills. Every team member should be involved in a decision to be put into a group so that they can be comfortable working with their colleagues.
For efficiency and effectiveness of the organization, the management should consider implementing a hybrid organizational structure for Syngenta. This type of structure will enable employees to take part in decision making processes especially those that concern the teams in which they work (Haberberg & Rieple, 2001). This will also encourage team members and their managers to set their own goals and objectives and hence a sense of ownership. This sense of ownership will result in commitment to the objectives set by team members and hence faster achievement of organizational goals. Open door policy should also be encouraged by the top management, which can only be made possible through the implementation of the hybrid organizational structure. By this, the lower management staff will be able to freely interact with middle level and senior managers via open discussion sessions. This open communication will enhance trust and loyalty between the management and employees, and among the employees themselves.
In this essay, we have been able to analyze the organizational structure of Syngenta Company. The organizational chart of the multinational company indicates that the company has a matrix structure. Although the structure is good for the company as far as the research and innovation aspect of the company is concerned, it is termed as an effective structure for faster achievement of organizational goals. Employees are forced to work in departments without their prior consents, which may lead to resistance among some experts. It is recommended that the organization adopt a hybrid system of organizational structure –which integrates a centralized and decentralized organizational structures.