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11.1 Using Decentralized Organizations to Control Operations

Learning Objective

Define the term decentral company and define benefits and also disbenefits of decentralizing.

Question: Many type of types of institutions decentralize operations to better manage each segment of the company. What does it intend to decentralize operations?


Answer: The term supplied to define this type of business framework is decentral organizations. Decentral organizationsOrganizations that delegate decision-making and operational responsibilities to the managers of each segment of the company. Segments are frequently called departments or subdevices. delegate decision-making and also operational responsibilities to the managers of each segment of the company. (Segments are often dubbed divisions or subsystems.) For example, colleges are frequently segmented by discipline with one manager, or dean, responsible for each technique (physical education, social scientific researches, business, and so on.). Retail providers are frequently segmented by area, through one manager responsible for each region. Service companies are regularly segmented by organization category, via one manager responsible for each category (e.g., an accountancy firm divided right into audit and also tax). Decentralization is not restricted to a details type of company, and many establishments that have actually grown in dimension and complexity decentralize to some degree.

You are watching: Which is not one of the potential advantages of decentralization?

Reasons to Decentralize

Question: Why carry out institutions decentralize operations?


Answer: Organizations frequently decentralize out of necessity as they expand also. The obligation of one manager, or team of supervisors, to run the entire organization can end up being overwhelming as the variety of commodities readily available boosts.

For example, Video Game Products, Inc., started by selling 2 board games to numerous retail stores in the northeast USA. The firm did not must decentralize at that point because it offered only two products and also the geographic region in which it offered those products was restricted.

A few years later, Game Products increased sales to Canada and also the southeast Unites States, while additionally venturing into the computer system games sector by purchasing a small maker of computer games. Although operations were not decentral at this time—all decisions were still made at headquarters—top administration was start to feel the strain of trying to manage two segments of the firm. The decision-making procedure was cumbersome and also sluggish, and also the firm started to miss industry avenues that would have actually boosted sales and profits.

Two years later, Video Game Products chose to enter the sporting products industry, and also optimal management and also the board of directors agreed that decentralization was important to the future success of the firm. As a result, they assigned a manager to run each division. This readjust allowed optimal administration to concentprice on high-level problems. such as long-array strategic planning, and it inserted the decision making in the hands of supervisors that were intimately acquainted with the operations of their individual departments.

Although Video Game Products inevitably made a decision to decentralize operations, tbelow are advantages and also disadvantages to decentralizing. Figure 11.1 "Decentral Versus Centralized Organizations" illustprices exactly how operations would look at Video Game Products, Inc., if operations were decentralized or if they stayed centralized.

Figure 11.1 Decentral Versus Centralized Organizations


Advantperiods of Decentralizing Operations

Question: What are the advantages of decentralizing operations for companies prefer Game Products, Inc.?


Answer: Organizations choose Game Products tfinish to decentralize as their operations thrive and also end up being more complicated. The advantages of decentralizing are as follows:

Increased Expertise. Rather than having actually one manager, or a group of managers, trying to make decisions for a large array of commodities, decentralized establishments delegate decision-making authority to regional supervisors who have expertise in certain commodities. Quicker Decisions. By having actually increased expertise and also decision-making authority, local supervisors are able to make decisions easily without having actually to wait for the approval of the organization’s optimal monitoring. Refocus of Top Management Responsibilities. With regional supervisors focusing on problems important to the specific segment, peak administration is able to delegate the day-to-day decision-making obligations and also focus on larger companywide concerns, such as long-variety strategic planning. Motivation of Local Managers. Managers that are given even more obligation, and also the regulate essential to manage their duty, tend to be more urged than those that sindicate follow the orders issued by top management. In enhancement, a decentralized framework offers a method to train local supervisors for proactivity to the next level of administration.

Note 11.3 "Business in Action 11.1" offers a real-life example of an organization that benefitted from decentralizing.

Firm in Action 11.1


Advantperiods of Decentralizing at a Community College

Sierra College is situated in among the fastest thriving counties in The golden state. Student enrollment has actually raised from 5 percent to 10 percent per year over the last decade. Prior to this rapid development, the college held each division dean responsible for the majority of bureaucratic duties. For example, the dean of organization and also technology was responsible for administrative duties, such as hiring faculty members and emerging the schedule of classes to be available each semester.

As student enrollment increased, course offerings broadened, and faculty headcount flourished into the hundreds, the administrative duties ended up being overwhelming for each division dean. As a result, management made a decision to decentralize better by creating department chair positions to assist with the administrative duties associated directly to each department. This adjust offered each department (service, music, computer system scientific research, etc.) more manage over day-to-day tasks, and also it enabled the deans to emphasis on bigger college concerns, such as strategic planning and also neighborhood relationships. It likewise enabled for quicker responses to concerns, such as faculty teaching assignments and also classroom space utilization.

Source: Based on the author’s experience.

Disbenefits of Decentralizing Operations

Question: What are the disbenefits of decentralizing operations for organizations, such as Video Game Products?


Answer: The results of decentralizing operations are not constantly positive. Three disbenefits of decentralizing are as follows:

Duplication of Services. Organizations that decentralize frequently duplicate governmental services, such as accountancy and computer system support. That is, each segment may have actually its own accountancy department and also computer system assistance department once these solutions might be offered even more effectively through one companywide department. Conflict of Interest. Managers who are evaluated specifically via respect to their departments have no incentive to make a decision that benefits the organization all at once at the price of the manager’s division. For example, a regional manager might decide to purchase raw products from an external supplier also though another department within the firm have the right to create the very same materials at a lower cost. (To make matters worse, the various other division’s manager may refuse to market the products at a decreased price bereason she is evaluated based upon her division’s profits!) The appendix to this chapter discusses this problem in greater information. Loss of Control. Perhaps among the a lot of challenging decisions facing small, fast-flourishing institutions is whether to continue to expand also and decentralize or to limit development and also remajor extremely central. Decentralization will certainly result in a loss of manage at top monitoring levels, which can have actually negative after-effects for the organization’s reputation if neighborhood supervisors battle to keep the level of top quality that customers intend. Decentral establishments are only as great as the regional managers who are offered decision-making authority.

Firm in Action 11.2


Disadvantage of Decentralizing an Accounting Firm

Arthur Andersen was a huge, decentralized audit firm with workplaces situated throughout the world. One or more partners operated each office individually. In 2002, Arthur Andersen had 85,000 employees worldwide. The firm was indicted in March 2002, and later found guilty, for obstructing justice by shredding tons of records regarded its audit occupational for Enron Corporation. As an outcome, Arthur Andersen agreed to cease its bookkeeping practice in the USA in August 2002. By 2005, only 200 employees remained at Arthur Andersen to wrap up the dissolution of the firm.

Although the entire firm was indicted and discovered guilty of obstruction of justice, the decision to shred files was made at the Houston office, where the bulk of the shredding took location. This serves as an extreme example of the disadvantage of decentralizing an company. Decisions left to the division supervisors (“partners” in this case) deserve to have actually an unfavorable effect on the whole organization.

Keep in mind that the UNITED STATE Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict of the UNITED STATE District Court in June 2005, yet the damage was done and also the firm did not make it through.

Source: Charles Lane, “Justices Overrevolve Andersen Conviction,” Washington Post, June 1, 2005,

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Key Takeaway

Decentralized organizations delegate decision-making and also operational obligations to the supervisors of each segment, or department, of the company. Advantages of decentral establishments include raised expertise at each division, quicker decisions, better usage of time at peak management levels, and boosted motivation of department managers. Disadvantages include duplication of solutions, such as accounting and also computer system support; potential boost in conflicts between division manager objectives and also companywide goals; and loss of manage at the optimal administration level.

Resee Problem 11.1

Landscaping Services, Inc., founded and operated by Ed Barnes, has actually viewed revenues double yearly for the past three years. Although Ed has actually hired a number of laborers to ease the workpack, he is still working seven days a week, 10 hrs a day. Ed would certainly like to hire a manager to aid in managing landscaping jobs and has asked for your advice.

What pertains to might you have around Ed’s setup to decentralize operations? How might decentralizing operations benefit Landscaping Services, Inc.?

Systems to Review Problem 11.1

Tbelow are several potential disadvantages to decentralizing. Two examples follow:

For a reasonably small agency, such as Landscaping Services, Inc., the best concern is shedding control over quality. Presumably Ed is successful because he provides terrific business. He should instill the prominence of keeping quality to the brand-new manager. Ed should create a compensation device that urges the new manager to make decisions in the best interest of the company. For instance, if the brand-new manager encounters an opportunity to pick up a brand-new customer, tbelow should be an catalyst to pursue this possibility. If the brand-new manager is sindicate provided a monthly salary, tbelow is no inspiration to rise the workload! One strategy is to market part ownership in the agency and also therefore civil liberties to a portion of the company’s earnings.

There are a number of potential benefits to decentralizing. A few examples follow:

Ed can hire a manager via specialization in a room exterior of Ed’s expertise, which have the right to lead to additional company and a higher level of top quality. Clients will no much longer have to wait for Ed to arrive before a decision is made on how to proceed via the job-related. Ed can put even more time right into obtaining brand-new customers.