Departmentalization is a component of organizational design. It separates each division of a larger entity into specific units that are based on functionality or criteria. In education, it eliminates teachers who are generalists because students attend subject-related classes with specific teachers.
List of Departmentalization Pros
1. It provides a specific focus.
Instead of requiring individuals to have high levels of general knowledge in all areas, departmentalization allows teams or individuals to specialize in specific fields. This makes it possible for differentiation to occur so that more needs can be met.
2. It upgrades expertise.
People specialize in subject areas they are passionate about. Allowing for departmentalization naturally upgrades the results that can be produced because it encourages expertise. The most knowledgeable team or individual in any one area can take the lead to produce better results.
3. It encourages cooperation.
Teams that focus on departmentalization encourage cooperation to produce consistent results. Open lines of communication are required so that information can be appropriately managed. When implemented correctly, there are high levels of mutual support within the organization.
4. It eliminates monotony.
Departmentalization may focus on specialized tasks, but they are tasks that individuals are passionate about. There is less monotony for each person because there are internal rewards being achieved through the work being done.
List of Departmentalization Cons
1. It requires multiple relationships.
In a teaching scenario, a departmentalized school would require students to develop multiple teacher/student relationships. That can be socially difficult for some children, especially for younger children.
2. It eliminates flexible scheduling.
There is less freedom for individuals or teams to dedicate time to specific tasks with a departmentalization approach.
3. It is not always harmonious.
If an organization does not have open communication policies or individuals on a team struggle to communicate with one another, then departmentalization may fail. What one individual may be working on could be in conflict with another team member as well, which could produce inconsistent results.
4. It creates breakdowns more often.
When the expertise of each individual is required for success, then success cannot happen if just one person is not part of the process. Something as simple as an illness could delay an entire team’s work.
These departmentalization pros and cons show that certain organizational structures can benefit from it, but others may not. It provides expertise, but requires more individuals to be within the organization to do so.