There are several organizational boundaries that exist within any entity and they are key elements of management. These boundaries mostly exist in respect to employee groupings and basic personnel management (Aarons, Ehrhart, & Hurlburt, 2015). An environment in which boundaries occur is juxtaposed by a ‘boundary-less’ environment whereby horizontal or vertical hierarchies do not feature in an organization.
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Boundaries also involve a series of networks that serve various purposes. The most prevailing issue with organizational boundaries is that they are inflexible and they tend to limit talent utilization (Borkowski, 2015). One example of my experience working for an organization that had rigid boundaries involved how people functioned. For instance, I came to realize that not all people could achieve full productivity in a boundary environment. On the other hand, some employees can only function in a boundary environment. This became apparent because some career trajectories of my co-workers would change as they changed organizations.
In my experience, organizations that are dominated by boundaries tend to have perennial structures, processes, and outcomes. Consequently, boundaries within my former organization gave it a distinct identity depending on the set out goals. It is important to realize that vertical and horizontal boundaries in an organization produce different results. For instance, most of the junior employees tend to favor the horizontal structures as opposed to vertical ones. Furthermore, boundaries have the capacity to put up external barriers between an organization, its suppliers, and its customers.
Therefore, in a normal scenario the object of any business is to ensure that the core process go on unhindered. However, existence of boundaries can create a problem or a solution in this regard. For instance, some of the world’s leading companies such as General Electric have sought to re-establish their horizontal and vertical boundaries from time to time in an effort to streamline their operations (Manojlovich & Ketefian, 2016). The flexibility of lack of boundaries is often favored in progressive organizations while boundaries are considered advantageous in most traditional settings. Another positive impact of eliminating boundaries is that it is possible for managers to replace them with virtual networks.
If I were a member of the organization’s leadership, my approach would have been to dilute the boundaries. This would have led to a more flexible and less structured operational environment. In today’s workplace environment, it is futile to consider a scenario where a business’ operations solely depend on the efforts of the top management. Organizations that employ rigid boundaries operate under the assumption that organizational drivers are just a few individuals. On the other hand, the modern approach to leadership is to form formidable teams that are not defined by employee-titles and boundaries.
For example, some of the most successful technological startups in the last ten years have often disregarded traditional organizational designs in favor of team unity. Therefore, my approach as a leader would have been aimed at bringing all employees together against a common goal as opposed to separating them in accordance with organizational levels. Currently, there are various methods of achieving an organization without boundaries including the use of virtual organizational structures. These types of organizations can be easily customized to meet specific goals including temporary ones. Eventually, I would have steered the organization towards becoming a network-organization.
Aarons, G. A., Ehrhart, M. G., & Hurlburt, M. S. (2015). Leadership and organizational
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change for implementation (LOCI): A randomized mixed method pilot study of a leadership and organization development intervention for evidence-based practice implementation. Implementation Science, 10(1), 11.
Manojlovich, M., & Ketefian, S. (2016). The effects of organizational culture on nursing professionalism: Implications for health resource planning. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive, 33(4), 1-13.