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Ester Maicas

In Lexington, after 40 years as flex spaces operators, we know that each company is unique. Every day we encounter new business, all different from one another, with their own needs and internal organization. You know what they say… There is indeed more than one way to skin a cat! Today we wanted to go over one of the corporate structures you could find in a company. This one is the most traditional, logic and basic one: the functional structure. But, what is the functional structure of a company?

What is the functional structure of a company?

The functional structure of a company was born out of the necessity of having true professionals on every field and hierarchical level. Under this organizational structure, employees are gathered together into groups based on their speciality. This means each team responds to a supervisor 100% committed to one department in particular such as graphic design, marketing, web development, production or sales. Companies with this structure are able to make the most of their specialised resources, always putting efficiency first. Because of that, the functional structure is a perfect fit for both companies with a smaller, low-cost mass-produced product portfolio, and also multinational companies.

A functional structure allows a company to make the best of their specialised resources to output low-cost mass-produced products or services.

Interesting, isn’t it? 😉 If you want to know more about the functional structure of a business, stay here because you’ll find a pros and cons list of this corporate structure and some examples to picture it better. Once you’ve read everything, you’ll see the light! If this functional structure is the best match for your company, you will know.

The functional organization of a company: the pros

Among the many benefits this hierarchical structure can bring to your company, we wanted to highlight these:

  • It encourages specialization within departments, because each employee can focus on their role. They would all work among professional colleagues, which improves efficiency and productivity.
  • This specialization makes technical supervision (way) easier! In fact, here you have an article on organizational charts, a very useful tool for functionally organised companies when supervising projects at a glance.
  • It improves direct communication within each team. This opportunity to quickly give and receive feedback will also boost productivity and efficiency on each department.
  • The pressure on the individual will also relax inevitably, because having a professional team to back you up is the perfect environment to finally delegate and share responsibilities.

The functional organization of a company: the cons

Sadly, not everything is a bed of roses, and its simplicity may affect different levels of the company, so here we wanted to highlight some potential disadvantages of this functional organizational structure:

  • Conflicts of authority may arise due to the loss of the unity of command.
  • Given that there are several figures of reference, there may be confusion and mixed-up goals, what can translate into disagreements on the general functions of the company.
  • This functional structure has a tendency to cause competition and rivalry among specialists. Think of it this way: they are all professionals in their field, so they may try to impose their point of view or perspective on their team.

Functional structure examples

Companies like Apple, Walt Disney’s theme parks or the overseas CNN and Wal-Mart, of whom we are sure you have heard, chose this functional structure.

As we’ve said, a clear example of this would be the company Apple. Since their early stages, this company has gone for a start-up-like internal structure, something that allowed them to address topics such as marketing or design with a cross-cutting approach for all their products and services. This way they can avoid departments fighting against one another for resources or attention.

According to this Applesfera article: “there is no single person in charge of Mac, IPhone or IPad. (…) The whole team works for the whole company.”

The functional structure and the workplace

Even though there may be some issues related to this model, some companies and moments in time are screaming out for this easy and traditional organizational structure.

If your company has a professional team whose members understand one another, with the same goals and a strong feeling of belonging, half the job is done! You’ll also need a strong leader to guide these experts, right? If you can check both charts, congrats! This structure may be like tailor-made for your business.

Oh, and of course, you shall not worry if not! Now that you know what a functional structure of a company is, if you are not 100% on board with the idea of implementing it on your company, here you have a basic guide on organizational structures for a company. You choose!

The functional structure is ideal for well-united teams and strong capable leaders, both with a clear feeling of belonging and common goals.

Besides, with the new concepts of hybrid office and flex spaces as Lexington’s, you’ll find the perfect work environment to face any inconvenience that may come your way. If this corporate structure lacks flexibility, take it from somewhere else! Get in touch now to know more about our flex spaces in Madrid and Barcelona. 

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.

Vince Lombardi


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