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Functional Organization Design and Lateral Coordination Processes

Functional Organization Design and Lateral Coordination Processes

Sample Answer 

Functional Organization Design and Lateral Coordination Processes

The functional structure of an organization is one of the most common in many organizations. Almost everyone has worked in a functional organization at a given point. For people who have been employed, it is highly likely that they have been part of a functional unit of such an organization. Due to my personal experiences working in such an organization, it was quite easy for me to understand the concept of a functional organization, as explained by Galbraith’s text. I understand a functional organization as one that has been divided into several units, each responsible for a specific function. For example, in an organization I have worked for, there were several units, such as the finance department, human resource management, sales and marketing department, and the administration department. However, an overview of this form of organization creates the idea of division within a single company. Having functional units does not imply that they are no longer part of the same organization. There is communication and collaboration that takes place between these units to create a single organization. It is the Lateral coordination process that creates this communication and collaboration. In my opinion, lateral coordination is responsible for the organization’s overall operational efficiency. Without the interaction of these units, there would not be success in achieving the organization’s overall strategy.

Several organizations in real life properly emulate the lateral coordination processes of successful functional organizations. For instance, an example of a business that has a functional system is Apple, Inc. Apple is one of the most successful technology companies in the world. This company has achieved its strategy with the help of various units that make it up. The company has a sales and marketing department, public relations, design, and finance, among others. Since Apple is such a large corporation, it has to design its lateral coordination between its various units correctly. There are various aspects defined by Galbraith (2002) that need to be considered when designing lateral organization. A lot of these aspects have been applied in designing the structure of Apple. First, lateral coordination requires the formation of formal groups. Apple has achieved this guideline by creating formal functional groups that perform their specialized roles. Its members understand the roles and responsibilities of each group. Galbraith (2002) also mentioned the leadership role as very important. Apple can be seen to take the leadership role very seriously by creating managerial positions for every functional group. The leaders of the teams ensure that their teams’ work is efficient and effective. The leaders also act as links between the functional units, thus enabling the lateral sharing of information. Therefore, I think studying Apple’s structure can help understand how functional companies manage their coordination of functions between groups.

Another thing that caught my attention in Galbraith’s text was the role technology plays in coordination. Technology plays a very important role in enabling the lateral coordination of organizations. Today, organizations do not have to constantly organize meetings between department heads to manage communication and coordination. Information and communication technology has created opportunities for the virtual connection of departments to allow for e-coordination to occur (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). Communication can be done through mail, telephone calls, and various kinds of messages. In fact, technology also created avenues for people to have virtual meetings where video meetings are formed, and they can discuss issues from different locations. In my opinion, this is a development that has helped to improve communication and collaboration between people in an organization significantly. In my experience working in the digital age, I no longer have to go to a manager’s office to discuss issues. Technology allows me to make a call or send an email, which can be received and replied instantly to facilitate efficient communication. This makes coordination less tiresome and time-consuming.

In conclusion, the text on functional organizations and managing lateral coordination shows that it is important that an organization remains as one unit even when it has been divided into several smaller ones. The strategies of lateral coordination make this possible. They create avenues for each unit to be successful independently but also contribute to the success of the organization as a whole. Operational efficiency for any business depends on the successful operation of each of its functional units and the successful teamwork and collaboration between the several teams that make it up. This can be a challenge, especially for a very large business, but with the simplified strategies presented by Galbraith, any business can get an idea of what it must do.


Galbraith, J. R. (2002). Strategy, Structure and Process and the Business Unit and Enterprise Levels.

Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2014). Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


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u02a1 Reading Reflection Paper 2

Note: Complete this unit’s first discussion before you start working on this assignment.


The unit readings cover ideas about functional organization design and lateral coordination processes. Your reflective paper assignment asks you to show your understanding of what you have read and to add your own thoughts and experiences. Completing this assignment will help you apply your new knowledge of organization design.

Functional Organization Design and Lateral Coordination Processes

Functional Organization Design and Lateral Coordination Processes


Reflect on the unit readings. Demonstrate that you remember, understand, and can apply the reading to real-world examples.

Submission Requirements

Your paper should meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA format: Resources and citations should be in current APA format. Be sure to include title and reference pages.
  • Length: 3 typed pages, double-spaced pages, not including the title and reference pages.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.


Reading Reflection Paper 2 Scoring Guide

Due Date: End of Unit 2.
Percentage of Course Grade: 2%.

Apply lateral coordination processes.
Does not explain lateral coordination processes. Explains lateral coordination processes. Applies lateral coordination processes. Applies lateral coordination processes, including examples from experience or scholarship.
Apply the concept of a functional organization design approach.
Does not explain the concept of a functional organization design approach. Explains the concept of a functional organization design approach. Applies the concept of a functional organization design approach. Applies the concept of a functional organization design approach, citing examples from the readings.


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