The term departmentalization is not part of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). The concept, however, is used to refer to the grouping of activities into departments.
Departmentalization is carried out in large organizations to increase their efficiency. By concentrating similar activities in the same area, specialization is favored and it is easier to improve their management.
The first step in developing departmentalization is the distribution of tasks. Regrouping is then performed according to function, hierarchy, or other criteria. The result of departmentalization is the division of the corporation into different sectors that, of course, must work in a coordinated manner.
A company may have a sales department, a customer service department, a purchasing department, and an administrative department, among others. Each department has a manager who is primarily responsible for the area and, in turn, interacts with the other sector managers. Departmentalization allows the workers of each unit to concentrate on their specific field of action, although the efforts of all must be coordinated and complemented for the success of the entity.
Departmentalization is the main characteristic of large stores known, precisely, as department stores or department stores. In this case, the store activity takes place in a single large building, divided into departments (clothing, household items, food, etc.). In this way, the buyer knows which department to turn to in order to find what he needs.
Types of departmentalization
As mentioned above, the criterion for carrying out departmentalization is not always the function of each group, but there are many possibilities, which are adjusted to the needs and possibilities of the company. Let’s take a look at the most common types below.
Although we have already made reference to departmentalization by function, it is important to point out that it is one of the most common types, since we find it in most of the companies around us. This is the division into areas according to the specialization of the staff in a given activity; The previous examples of purchasing, sales and customer service departments meet this criteria.
On the other hand, we have customer departmentalization, which companies do when they know their customers very precisely and can therefore focus their energies on meeting their specific needs. Department stores are a clear example of this type of organization, since they are created taking into account the types of customers that will visit them and are divided into departments that can meet the needs of all of them separately.
Process departmentalization, on the other hand, focuses on the different stages of the production process. In this case, we can think of an electronic device factory, which divides its personnel so that each group attends to a specific phase of the process, such as the assembly of the motherboard and the processor, the soldering of the different components, the placement of the casing and packaging, among others.
There is also departmentalization by products or services, which can be confused with the one developed to satisfy each type of customer, although in this case the focus is not the customer but what the company has to offer. To understand the difference more clearly, we can think of the different areas within a supermarket: greengrocers, greengrocers, dairy, bakery, fishmonger, butcher, electrical appliances, bookstore, etc.; It is known that most buyers will visit many of the departments, so the main objective is that no one gets lost in the crowd.