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The organizational structure most commonly found and most practicably applied in health care organizations is the functional structure. While a divisional structure may be feasible, it is not the most practical because, in divisional structure, there is duplication of departmentalization. For instance, each division may have its own Human Resources and Marketing departments, and communication is within the division and with the organization head in a down-up linear channel, but not often between divisions. In a health care organization, this complexity, which allows for duplication of departments, and this linear communication are not generally productive. An exception to this may be an organization with several health care facilities such as several clinics or several hospitals.
Contrastingly, a functional structure recognizes several levels of managerial control in which departments have heads and have channels of communication upward and downward. Departments may also communicate horizontally--similar in direction (though not in purpose) to matrix communication--and will communicate downward from the top as well as report upward from the bottom. This sort of structure and communication system is productive and effective in health care organizations because, using a hospital as a good illustration, the several departments, like medical supply, pharmacy, maternity, pediatrics, surgery and intensive care, work independently from each other (what happens today in marketing or maternity does not necessarily effect what happens tomorrow in orthopedics), they must also be coordinated so the whole organization works successfully within its functional areas, like Marketing, Supplies, and Human Resources.
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