Dotted Line Responsibility Definition Essay

The Four Functions of Management Essay

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The Four Functions of Management

Management is accomplished through four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. According to Bateman-Snell, planning is the management function of systematically making decisions about the goals and activities that an individual, a group, a work unit, or the overall organization will pursue in the future. Organizing is the management function of assembling and coordinating human, financial, physical, informational, and other resources needed to achieve goals. Leading is the management function that involves the manager’s efforts to stimulate high performance by employees. Controlling is the management function of monitoring progress and making needed changes. The…show more content…

On a weekly basis, they are planning activities for the children and grocery shopping. On a monthly basis, there is the paperwork that needs to be submitted, automobile servicing, and a detailed clean up of the facility.

The next function is organizing. In this function they are allocating and configuring resources to accomplish the goals and objectives. A CEO of a major company uses organizational charts, which outline the various areas of functional responsibility and levels of authority, the hierarchy of the company. He said, "Of course, that is not the way that it works.” He then proceeded to draw a number of dotted lines across the various functional divisions and levels of authority, explaining that these were the lines of communication which really governed day-to-day operations. He was astute enough to recognize that while organization charts are necessary to define responsibility and accountability, they cannot be allowed to define channels of communication and even the responsibility for taking action. Otherwise, the company would be so slow and cumbersome in making decisions and taking action that it would be almost totally ineffective (Suutari, p12-14). In a daycare they use this function in order to be effective in their goals of caring for the children. The capacity as to how many children are in the facility, the files most be

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The definition of a matrix organization structure is where people report formally to more than one manager. These reporting lines can take the form of what is known as a solid line or a dotted line reporting relationship. The weight of the line is meant to represent the level of power and influence of the different managers.

  • The solid line reporting relationship is similar to a traditional line management role. The solid line manager tends to look after the objective setting and performance evaluation processes and in the event of a dispute is the manager to whom the individual will tend to defer.
  • The dotted line reporting relationship is a weaker relationship. The dotted line manager still has a formal right to some part of the individual’s time and attention and will usually set some of goals. But it is not a strong relationship as a solid line.

The solid line role is often given to either the functional manager or a manager who is geographically close to the individual. This is to give them easier oversight.

The dotted line role is often given to an “activity” or project manager who is responsible for delivering some tasks or other activities but who does not need to get involved in the on-going development of the individual or the administrative processes around them.

In an environment where individuals have both a solid and a dotted line reporting relationship they always have the chance to default to the solid line boss so there are relatively few advantages to having a dotted line over perhaps having an informal virtual team relationship.

Organizations often use the dotted line reporting as a first step towards a matrix organization structure. They tried to get things done through ad hoc or virtual teams and found that these activities were not getting sufficient priority because of the strength of the solid line reporting (often the functional reporting line). In an attempt to balance the power more in favour of the virtual team leader organizations introduce a dotted line reporting relationship. However the power is still an imbalanced relative to the traditional line management role and in the case of disputes the solid line normally wins. Dotted lines do not really balance the power of the traditional functional silos.

If the “horizontal” activity that cuts across the vertical silos of function and geography is really important then organizations eventually migrate to dual solid line reporting. In some cases individuals may report to more than two people with direct solid lines.

Typical responsibilities of the solid line manager include objective setting, running the appraisal and performance evaluation process, professional development, functional or local communication etc.

The dotted line reporting manager tends to focus on delivering specific activities projects although they may have an input to objective setting and performance evaluation.

The management style that is effective in a dotted line relationship may be different than that in a solid line relationship. Dotted line managers have to exercise more influence without authority and get things done despite not having formal control over the resources.

There is some informal evidence from climate surveys within organizations that use these forms of reporting lines that people have a mild preference for their virtual, dotted line, bosses as they exercise a wider range of influence and have to be more persuasive rather than relying on traditional hierarchy and control to get things done.

The use of both solid and dotted line reporting tends to equate with a focus on structure to get things done. In complex organizations, structure solves nothing. Once you have dual reporting lines, then you can’t usually solve issues by recourse to the lines themselves. Individuals with dual reporting lines need to have high levels of autonomy and skill to make decisions and manage trade-offs, otherwise they will be constantly escalating to their bosses who may only understand half of their role.


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