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The concepts of hierarchical and matrix structure in an organization

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 1905 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the present essay, the change process of the Police of a small European country is examined. The concepts of hierarchical and matrix structure in an organization are studied aiming at understanding the present and the proposed future status of the Police.

Hierarchical structure

The hierarchical structure of an organization as represented in

an organization chart, is characterized by:

– The vertical division of labour (with the creation of departments) and

– The horizontal division of labour (with the creation of administrative


The horizontal division of an organization can be assumed that it divides

the management at three levels:

– The senior managers who form the strategic level of the


– The middle managers who form the tactical level

– The low level executives who form the functional level

The vertical division of labour defines the various activities that are necessary for the operation of the business (production, sales, research and development etc.)

A problem caused by the vertical division is that there are activities that cross the boundaries of the various departments.

Matrix Organization

A managerial scheme that is often applied in practice, especially in innovative projects, is the matrix organization. This organization can be used either to develop a specific new product or solve a specific technological problem. The process of implementing a matrix organization is based on the transfer of personnel from other organizational units in order to set up a team. A project manager is appointed who is responsible for leading a team of experts that are seconded from various departments.

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After developing the new product (product management) or solving the problem the people who contributed to this project return to the departments where they originally came from. In the case of developing a new product, the duties of the project manager are primarily the planning of work and coordination of actions among the departments that contribute to the production processes. On the contrary, in the case of dealing with a managerial problem or production problems, the tasks of the project manager are more substantial and include the responsibility for designing, researching, developing and optimizing the production process.

This type of organization is called matrix because it creates an horizontal structure in conjunction with [usually] the vertical organization of more administrative structures.

Change of the Police structure

These surveys, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon area, have identified two models of managing the Police, the bureaucratic and the community.

The bureaucratic prevents political interference in police work and operation. The organization of the Police seeks to improve police effectiveness, gives emphasis to promoting the professionalism of the police force and its action -aims at controlling crime and enforcing the law. The police organization is hierarchical and decisions are taken by the senior levels of the hierarchy.

The community model is decentralized, it gives emphasis on specific goals and the police officers are considered as employees who provide services to the citizens – clients. The model does not focus on the expertise of the members of the organization as bureaucratic one does, but on capacity building and direct fulfilment of the specific project or goals.

Patrols, small police stations, police news bulletins are the means to ensure the satisfaction of citizens.

In this context, there have been developed three models to describe the organization of Police (managerial methods, recruitment, staff training, reporting lines etc) that determine the type of policing.

The following table summarizes the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of these models in order to determine the most appropriate and realistic implementation plan.





MILITARY (secure order and safety)

«War against crime»

It equips the police with power to withstand high tension situations

It is unable to capture the delicate nature of the profession


Centralized management

It enables them to work as a team when required

It ignores the important role of lower-police force, especially the police patrol

Strict hierarchical organization

It ensures the unquestioned application of regulations and orders

It fails to mobilize the police in the fight against crime


The “war mask” produces a culture with negative consequences



Investing in highly trained and skilled staff

It denies the autonomy and self = control ability of the police force


Managerial control

Trying to avoid the effect of the police from politics

The officers who act limited are rewarded


Scientific Management

Rationalism and predictability

Authoritarian nature management



Paradoxical and contradictory managerial system


Only one mission: law enforcement


Bureaucratic /semi military nature


Centralized management


Specialization and work allocation


Police sub culture


Imitation of private sector’s management systems

COMMUNAL (Service provision to the citizen – client)

New philosophy and management strategy of the Police

Participation of the community to the police work

Difficulties of implementing police work in the business field


Authorized action by the community

Solving the problems of the citizens / community

Difficulty in implementing it in areas of high criminality


Decentralized and personified police

The police force is liable to the local community

Transfer of crime in other areas


Direct but long term problem solutions

Flexibility in changing the organization and management of the police

Police inability to mobilize the community


Morality, legality, accountability and trust

Reducing crime and fear of victimization




Reluctance to involve citizens


Not strictly limited police authority

Vulnerable to political interference and manipulation


Offering help to those in need


Creativity and support


Internal changes


Making the futrue

The Police under study is more responsive to the bureaucratic model of administration, containing elements of the military and business model of organization. In recent years, with the offices of neighbourhood policing, the public information office and prose patrols within the program “Safe Cities,” the Community with the local Councils for Crime Prevention are activated.

Based on the international experience, no organization model excludes the possibility of solving problematic situations. The model of community policing could be a challenge for the Police under study, if there was a community spirit in the local society. But this is not unfortunately the case. The same is true for most countries in Europe. The community standard in conjunction with the EU seems more appropriate for the Police under study, and its operation within the European Union, since it responds to the needs of the country.

Implementation of proposals

A specific project manager will be appointed for managing the whole change process. The change process is estimated to last two years. The manager will be a high rank officer who will be in close cooperation with senior police officers from various departments, social workers and psychologists that work for the police and an independent business consultant. After the end of the change process, the members of the project team will return to their departments.

For the successful implementation of this change the following are needed:

Regarding the police officers:

The rational allocation of time by the police force.

Improving the conditions and the organization of their work.

Redefining the work of the police force and their disengagement from services ancillary to their mission.

Provide continuous scientific and professional training of police officers.

An objective evaluation process of staff performance and relevant promotions.

Apart from the above tasks, the project manager and his team will be responsible for organizing conflict management. Before applying the above changes to the police force, the project team should be prepared for conflict management.

The reason for all conflicts is risk so conflict management is actually risk management.

While conflict might affect beliefs , emotions (feelings) or behaviour,

Project Management deals with conflicts arising from differences and conflicts that arise when a person or a group (involved in a project) has different goals (often incompatible) from those of another person or another group. The project management team will try to transfer the change need to all levels of the Police force and listen to their proposals whereas it will implement the ones with the most value.

With regard to society the project management team should focus on:

1. The effective allocation of police forces according to specific criteria and staffing services and police units where necessary.

2.The computerization of the Police and its connection to the other partner authorities and agencies, for example, the Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Prefectures, etc.

3.To cover by priority and phases of equipment shortages of the Police force, as well as building and logistics needs. In this context it is proposed to exhaust the possibilities of settling the police departments and stations in privately owned or jointly rented premises with other authorities, courts, municipalities, companies protect ex-prisoners, etc.

4.The prevention and not just the suppression of crime.

5. In developing relations with the local community (regular patrols, information, etc.).

6. The creation of areas of policing based on specific criteria (e.g. crime, unemployment, population density, etc.).

7. In determining the percentage of people to be employed in government ministries, departments, protecting politicians etc.

8. The creation of efficiency criteria and the continuous monitoring of the police force.

9. Awareness of police on socially excluded groups.

10. Strengthen international cooperation to exchange experiences, knowledge and provide more effective services to citizens.

The modern organization and operation of the police should follow management principles to be more effective and closer to the citizen.


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