Organizing Function Essay

Organizing Function Essay

1. Introduction
As organizers, managers are responsible for allocation of resources to fulfill their organizational goals. The organizing function goes beyond the immediate framework of the manager, and includes interfaces with other parts of the organization, principally the immediate vertical and horizontal peers. It goes without saying that the organizing function must be coherent with organizational plans and depends on the manager as a leader to successfully carry on the tasks.

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This paper discusses the organizing function of management as it is conducted at McDonald’s, whose 400,000 employees worldwide had generated the company annual revenues of $23,522.4 million during the fiscal year 2008 (Datamonitor, 2009). Operating more than 31,900 restaurants (ibid.), the company is a model for efficient and effective allocation of resources. The analysis will focus on the company’s performance of two major resource allocation tasks, namely the organization of the company’s human resources and knowledge.

2. McDonald’s Performance of Human Resource Organizing Tasks
Organizing human resources differs from human resource management in the simple sense that while organizing HR means to arrange people’s work towards achieving goals, HRM deals with facilitating the HR needed for managers. For example, while McDonald’s HRM personnel deal with e.g. requiting, training and compensating the workforce, it is restaurant managers who instruct and conduct the employees. Among the company’s various operational methods, the single restaurant level provides the best example for the way work (i.e. processing and serving food and conducting other peripheral tasks) is being carried on by humans at McDonald’s.

Perhaps the most important contributor to the prevalence of the company in the global fast food market is its ability to standardize all work processes and divide the work among the employees in a clear, machine-like manner. During a shift of predetermined length, each team member has a clear set of tasks, which she will perform repeatedly throughout the whole session. A cashier, for example, is being posted next to one POS, from which all his work (i.e. processing orders) is supposed to be conducted. This ensures not only good customer service (e.g. customers know exactly which POSs are operating at the moment), but also allow to employee to focus on processing one order at the time, compared to a waiter, whose seems to “collect” tasks each time he approaches “his” area in the restaurant. Thus, work is organized as a highly precise response to demand (pending orders).

Similar work optimization processes take place in other parts of the domestic value delivery chain, such as the kitchen and the storage room. Computerized workflow management systems provide direct instructions to the supporting staff, which knows exactly what is the most important task to perform. Clearly, it is not necessary that a supervisor will give orders, since each team member receives direct instructions to its position.

In this framework, the managers (both restaurant and shift managers) are free from organizing the routine tasks. It is the manager’s job to deal with real-time problems and to carry on managerial routines such as short-term planning (e.g. scheduling shifts) and to ensure that work is done. This method of organizing helps to team to focus on work rather than on human errors, unnecessary fluctuations of buffer stock and other irrelevant matters. Moreover, as the team is “focused and engaged on a specific objective that is clearly measurable,” a clear sense of “ownership of achievement and empowerment” (Facella, & Genn, 2009, p. 65) also supports the manager in its leading functions.

3. McDonald’s Performance of Knowledge Management
McDonald’s is not only a celebrated fast food chain, but also the owner of extremely valuable intangible assets. The increase in the company’s brand value throughout recent years, which was pointed out by Datamitor as one of its three major internal strengths (2009), is one direct result of evidently successful brand management. Furthermore, although McDonald’s did not invent the hamburger or the sandwich, it managed to patent their main product and its way of preparation in a 2006 55-pages patent filings in all five continents.

At the national and domestic level, McDonald’s working methods must be conveyed to the workforce and practiced by all participants in the value chain (including suppliers). As discussed in the previous section, the company has defined a “single best way” to get the work done. Knowledge is conveyed both formally and informally, while putting special emphasis on hands-on experience and knowledge sharing as a major corporate value (Facella & Genn, 2009).

This does not imply that the company’s knowledge management is rigid. In fact, all the levels of the company are organized in such a manner, that knowledge (e.g. suggestions, insights and flaws in the methods) can be transferred also upwards. Other interfaces of knowledge management include external agencies, consumers’ insights and a comprehensive approach of data collection and evaluation of markets, consumer behavior, the effect of designing decisions and so on.

4. Conclusion
Notwithstanding other pros and cons of its business methods, McDonald’s seems to have a superb way to organize tasks. Work is definitely optimized to meet efficiency goals, and the company’s franchisees worldwide enjoy a rather high profitability and stability, despite some unfavorable conditions such as economic turmoil and growing competition in the fast food market, whose low barriers of entry attract local, national and global competitors.

McDonald’s has clear hierarchy and a rather globally standardized corporate culture and business methods, which may not suit all its locations. In order to solve this problem, a restaurant manager at McDonald’s is first and foremost an organizer of predetermined, clear and simple operational plans. She is thus less concerned with other time-consuming functions such as planning and controlling (although these functions are also practiced by the managers) and can allocate more managerial efforts to ensure service quality, whose parameters are also dictated, of course. With the progress of technology and cutting-edge operational methods, there is not doubt that McDonald’s will continue having the most efficient, effective and strategically sound measures of organizing, far above all its competitors.

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