Organizations are structured in several ways. In some cases the functional roles and specializations form the basis of the segregation of groups into homogenous entities like departments, etc., while in other cases, logical business of the organization becomes the basis for segregation like divisions based on product categories, geographies (particularly related to markets) and also customer types? Organizational activities arranged in the form of a hierarchy can be based on the following types:
- Functional structure is work based on specialization within the organization, such as finance, marketing, etc. This is a traditional way of structuring organizations based on specializations. Each group works like a sub-organization with policies and plans formulated at the top of the sub-organization after due inputs from the top management. Information normally flows vertically. Information management is comparatively easier in this kind of structure as roles are structured.
- Product or service categories based structure, such as X product division, Y product division, etc. In this type of organization, managers in charge of a product or product category work not only vertically but also coordinate amongst each other and work horizontally.
- Geography based structure, such as a structure based on segregation/grouping on geographical areas like North region or X province, Z zone, etc. This type of structure is suitable where markets are segmented in geographical areas.
- Customer category based structure, such as grouping people according to high paying customers, low paying customers, etc. This kind of structure is especially suitable for service industries, banks, financial and brokerage companies, etc.
- Matrix structure is a mix of different structures suitable for tackling important changes in the environment. Such structures are complex arid information flows in all directions. It is challenging for managers to manage such a structure. Information management in these structures is difficult as the decision-making process within the organization is sometimes non-linear.
- Virtual organizations are the organizations which exist only in cyberspace and draw all their resources from cyberspace.
Different information management techniques are required for the various organization structures given above. The role of the information manager is also different in each case. Let us now understand the relation between management and information.