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What makes an effective organization structure in academic environment?

The structure of the college is largely determined by the age of the college and the combination of disciplines, locations, and the size of the university includes its alumni.  The structure of a college that only pays attention to one field of teaching studies is different from the university structure consisting of several departments. For example, the model of successful organization at a small university located within the city, only managing the field of social sciences, not necessarily this organizational structure is equally successful when applied to universities that have fields of medicine, design, and technology studies with a large number of students. Thus, the structure of academic organization in universities cannot be equated. Then, the question is what makes an effective organization structure in academic environment?

effective organization structure in academic environment

Important Factors in Academic Organization

The arrangement of the organizational structure of the college is based on the efficiency of physical resources and funding. A lot of effort is made to compile the organizational structure of universities with consideration to achieve effectiveness in the implementation of activities and financing. There is a university organizational structure that provides academic implementation and financial management to the faculty, there is also an organizational structure that applies authority in the implementation of activities on the faculty while financial management is still in the university in accordance with the needs of the faculty. The organizational structure of the college may change according to its development. It's good to imitate the organizational structure of a successful university with consideration according to needs and circumstances.

The organizational structure of the university varies according to the number of Departments and Faculties it manages. Generally, large efficient universities consist of several faculties and are grouped based on the main field of study. The grouping based on the main study aims to facilitate the use of physical resources and human resources such as areas of expertise that are difficult to obtain. Grouping also aims for efficiency in the placement, use and maintenance of shared equipment which is quite expensive, and the operating costs are extremely high.

There are universities that succeed by changing the organizational structure through the incorporation of several Departments within one Faculty so that the number of faculties becomes limited, for example the Faculty of Design, Faculty of Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences. The Faculty of Design oversees the field of design studies such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Environment, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geography, etc.  The Faculty of Technology oversees the fields of technology such as Engineering, Electronics, Industry, Informatics, Space, etc. while the Faculty of Social Sciences oversees several fields of study in Economics, Politics, Culture, Philosophy, Education, Religion, etc. However, in some universities the arrangement of organizational structure based on efficiency is not a target because it is more oriented to the effectiveness of learning implementation, so that one university can have many faculties even though the number of students is not large.

The tendency to create an organizational structure with many faculties based on disciplines has the reason that different disciplines require different types of leaders (Deans), because it will be related to the right decision-making strategy in accordance with his experience in his field, and also give prestige to the leader because there will be respect from subordinates towards leaders who have similar academic backgrounds,  because the chosen leader has received recognition to have advantages in the fields of academic ability, research, communication and management.

Becher and Trowler conducted research on several types of leadership based on disciplines and grouped them into 4 categories of leader appearance, namely: Hard, Soft, Pure and Applied. Leadership in the field of pure design is categorized as a "Pure-Soft" type, leadership for the Field of Human sciences and Pure Social Sciences is categorized as a "Pure-Hard" type, while leadership in the field of Technology is categorized as a "Hard-Applied" type, while leadership in the field of Social Sciences Applications is categorized as a "Soft-Applied" type. It is not difficult to align this profile with the type of academic organization: faculties in charge of Pure Science and Technology tend to adhere to a short system and resemble business, want to "directly work" and give full authority to the dean in making decisions, while faculties with the field of Social sciences tend not to be related to each other, do not have the desire to give full authority to the dean in management,  and reluctant to accept the policies given by the supreme leadership before first discussing and questioning them, and there is always a tendency to oppose the status quo.

Assessment of the Effectiveness of Academic Organizational Structures

One difficulty in assessing changes in the effectiveness of the orgnization structure in universities is the existence of random nature as a cause of change and the assumption that changes in the form of decision making are the main basis for improving management. In some universities, changes in organizational form are made not by changing the form of the organization, but simply following the direction of changes in organizational forms that have been made before. 

There are universities that adhere to traditional structures by authorizing smaller units and are directly responsible to the Assistant Rector, this unit can be a faculty led by the Dean, and on the faculty joins several Departments, but in practice the faculty authorizes the Department to carry out activities in accordance with the Department's plan. With this system, there will be multilevel policies, layered bureaucracy, communication, and a lengthy line of command. If the Assistant Rector assesses that there have been weaknesses in the implementation of activities in the Department, the latest changes can be made after negotiating through the Dean and then communicated to the Head of the Department. This kind of chain of command is considered too long and too much bureaucracy, this system tends to protect the policies that have been established in the Department. There are several advantages in this system, especially if supported by the ability of the Dean to describe the instructions of the Assistant Rector to be operational so that each Department implements the same policy correctly. However, there is the impression that the time to get the instruction is rather long than if the instructions of the Assistant Rector are directly received by the Head of the Department.

Another model at the university is that the organizational structure consists of several faculties but has a Faculty Committee to organize the university's plans and activities in smaller units. All arrangements and distribution of physical resources and funds are carried out based on decisions made by the Faculty Committee. An important decision made by the Faculty Committee is to make a policy of distributing resources directly to the Department, so that it will reduce the role of the Dean, and the function of the faculty seems to be absent from management. From the results it is known that no changes have been made to develop the organizational structure because the faculty remains responsible for the implementation of student administration, and the duties of the Faculty Committee remain as previously agreed. It turns out that such a structure does not provide benefits to the effectiveness of activities in the faculty. 

Meanwhile, the administration contained in the university must be expanded its duties to serve every activity in the faculty. A few years later it was realized that the university had carried out the process of heeding the service center, namely from the faculty to the university service. The transfer of resource allocation directly to the Department will change the functions and responsibilities of the faculty so that the faculty does not function and result in high costs in management. After realizing the reduction in resources, the university senate finally took the decision to eliminate the administrative system that was considered unnecessary and could save costs in the field of administration.

The two systems mentioned above illustrate the existence of a great influence on the effectiveness of changes in the organizational structure of the university, which may be considered to be able to solve one problem but will cause another problem. In the case of the first university, the organizational structure makes the wider gap between the center and the Department so that it can cause a situation where the university becomes more difficult to respond to outside pressure, so that any plan for change can be hampered at the upper level or at the lower level. In the second university structure, the desire to describe the allocation of resources and funds directly to the Department without seeing the fact that the result of organizational changes will have a real impact on activities in the faculty. Thus, every arrangement for the university organization must be considered, both in the effectiveness of management and in funding so that optimal results are obtained.


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