5. Organizational structure


Functional foremanship

Functional foremanship, a central element of Taylor's method, divides the planning and the doing into two distinct parts of the organization.

Taylor called production supervisors "teachers"

Teachers on a production line had two jobs:

  1. Teach workers the one best way to do a task.

  2. Above all, make sure workers follow the schedule.

Teachers, get the schedule and the tests from central planning, but do not report back to central planning, but instead to another supervisor, a principal supervisor, who reports to a factory superintendent.

It's the same in school districts today

Teachers get the teaching and the mid-year testing schedule from central planning, but do not report back to central planning. Instead, teachers report to principals who report to someone else.

There is a belief "out there" that ultimately, the quality of education depends on the quality of the teacher.

Teachers however, have no control of the schedule or the mid-year tests.

Teachers work in the system but are not allowed to work on the system.

Linear hierarchy and cross-functional teams

Maintain linear responsibility for getting things done while at the same time enabling many groups to self-organize around different initiatives using lean/agile techniques such as scrum.

Enable — encourage! — everyone to work on the system!

Modern organizations have seen tremendous improvements by finding ways to broaden ownership of the system, of how the system gets the results it gets.

Whatever flaws there are in the I-o method can be remedied by many knowledgeable practitioners, whether they are educators, principals, school or district staff.