What is organisational structure and why is it
important for IKM?
The system used when defining
a hierarchy in an organisation is known as the structure. The structure of the
organisation is a key factor in how the system will function. An organisation
with a good hierarchical or pyramid structure will often be more effective in
achieving its goals. Organisational structures generally have managers at the
top, followed by workers lower down the hierarchy. Within the hierarchy there
is often groups of employees working for the organisation, commonly they will
be grouped by one of four things, ‘product’, ‘geographically’, ‘process’ and
‘function’. Ultimately, structure can have a major influence on information and
knowledge management, there are many other factors such for example span of
control, which is how many people are reporting to a boss, this important for
IKM as if you have too many employees making suggestions to one boss then there
may be communication issues, structure allows information to be presented to
the very top of the hierarchy by only 5-6 managers for example and not the
whole of the organisation. Other IKM examples include, lines of command flow
and delegation these can both aid hierarchical and pyramid structures. Lines of
command provide almost a backbone type support to the hierarchy as it means the
orders will come from the top and will filter down the hierarchy eventually. Organisational
structure and information and knowledge management are therefore clearly linked
and are reliant on each other to create a functional hierarchy.
the structure of Ofsted?
According to Independent
Education Consultants (2017, p. 1), Ofsted (office for standards in
education-children’s services and skills), refers to a non-ministerial unit of
the United Kingdom’s government. It reports to the parliament directly, and it
is impartial and independent. It is tasked with the responsibility to inspect a
variety of learning institutions ranging from independent to state schools. It
is also responsible for inspecting childcare, adoption and as well fostering
agencies and initial instructor training. Moreover, it also regulates social
care services for children, especially during their early years. The Ofsted’s
board is responsible for the formulation of strategic priorities for the
organisation. It also sets the objectives and targets for the organization. It
is also the responsibility of the board to make sure that HMCI’s work is
undertaken effectively and efficiently.
Additionally, it also oversees the corporate governance of the
organisation (Cullingford, 2013). This paper presents the organisational
hierarchy/structure and gives examples of how information flows through various
levels of the organisation.
organisation structure for Ofsted is a traditional pyramid hierarchical
structure as I found from an image on their website, the most power in the
organisation resides at the top and this power gradually diminishing as you go
down the hierarchy. Ofsted’s hierarchy is based on function, this means that
the employees are grouped by what role they are performing, for example the
employees from the social care division of Ofsted work together while employees
from the education division of Ofsted would also work together.
At the top
of the hierarchy is ‘Amanda Spielman’ (HMCI), she has the job title of ‘her
majesty’s chief inspector’ (HMCI), the most powerful role in Ofsted. Under her,
work 4 ‘managers’ who control different areas of Ofsted, corporate strategy,
social-care, education and operations, these are different departments of
Ofsted. However, they all have less power than Amanda Spielman herself not
included in the hierarchy however are an additional 1500 employees which Ofsted
employ who help to audit the schools in the 8 regions which are covered by
Ofsted. The hierarchical structure for Ofsted also allows for an adequate and
fit for purpose span of control, to make sure the right information is being
transmitted to the very top of the hierarchy in the clearest way, to avoid any
ambiguity there are only 4 managers.
Within the Ofsted structure is also a board, the boards main
objective as stated on their government website profile is ‘ensuring her
majesty’s chief inspectors work is carried out efficiently and effectively’,
‘setting strategic priorities and ‘overseeing corporate governance’, Amanda
Speilman (HMCI) is also on the board. The board consists of 8 members allowing
for collaboration and delegation to take place within the organisation as the
board is part of the structure.
What are information flow and why are they important?
information flow and why is it important.
Information flow is the way data flows through different channels
within the hierarchy of and organisation, examples of this can be vertical
communication which is when power comes from the top and flows down through the
organisation, furthermore information can also flow horizontally through
organisations between managers for example.
advantages for vertical information flows, with Ofsted facts that show this
happening in practice.
The organization contains over 1500 workers across its eight
Maguire, Braun, & Ball, 2017, p. 3).
This, coupled with its huge budget, requires that the organization is
well managed and organised. A clear
chain of command and effective Communication is essential for effective
management of any organisation. Therefore, it would be essential to analyse
information flow by analysing the hierarchical composition of the organization.
Hierarchy refers to the manner in which the organisation is structured using a
vertical link and various levels of authority. The Chief Inspector or the HMCI is the top leader of
the Ofsted organization. He/she is responsible for the top management functions
of the unit. She inspects and regulates the services within Ofsted’s
remit. Further, she oversees the overall
organization of the department, management as well as staffing. Upon request,
the HMCI can also advise the state secretary of education on matters that fall
within his/her remit
The HMCI can delegate some powers to other officers under
her. There is downward flow of information from the HMCI to people such as the
chief operating officer (COO), the directors and the regional directors, who
support HMCI through the organisation’s executive board and as well the
inspection and improvement meetings of the HMCI. Through the privilege to delegate work, the
HMCI gives orders to the COO, directors and the regional directors, who are
required to pass the orders downward until they reach the right person to
implement such orders. This helps Ofsted in an IKM capacity as it increases interpersonal
communication within the organisation, delegation provides control and
information which are 2 basic principles of interpersonal skills, control is
coming from the HMCI, consequently information is being passed vertically down
the hierarchical structure.
For effective management and fit for purpose structure
allowing a manageable span of control, Ofsted’s top management has divided this
organisation into 4 main directorates, which are the Inspection and Improvement
directorate, the Education directorate, Chief Operating Officer’s directorate,
and the Social Care directorate. A director leads each of the four
directorates. These directors report to HMCI. The inspection and improvement
department is administered regionally and thus is managed by the regional
directors. Ofsted’s scheme of delegation states clearly who can make a
particular decision and at which level of the organisation. The directors,
therefore, cannot make major decisions without the authority of the HMCI.
However, the HMCI can make the decision and delegate to them to make sure that
this particular decision is implemented. Such a decision making policy has a
positive effect on IKM because if a decision is vertically passed down from
HMCI, then it is not challenged and is accepted by all, on the other hand this
type of vertical communication sometimes may not benefit all the different
groups in the organisation however the structure is such that the decision is
Information is being transmitted up through the hierarchy
vertically until it gets to the top, the span of control is essentially how
many individuals are reporting to a main boss and as we can see from the Ofsted
hierarchy, there are only 4 individuals directly reporting to Amanda Spielman
(HMCI), this allows for a clear line of communication and is much more
effective than having 20-30 managers reporting back to one ‘boss’, which may
cause confusion. As the Ofsted hierarchy allows for adequate span of control it
means that in an IKM sense, vital data for example if the amount of schools
receiving a grade ‘4’ by Ofsted has increased by 20%, this information can be
instantaneously conveyed to the HMCI by the National director of education and
she will be able to turn this data into information and decide on a solution
route that can be taken.
groupings supporting collaborative work for sharing information, with Ofsted
facts that show this happening in practice.
The main pyramid hierarchy of Ofsted Is a very traditional one, as
it is organised into groups, these groups are based on function, as we can see
at the top of the Ofsted hierarchy under the ‘National Director-Social care’,
there is a ‘Deputy head of social inspection’ and there is a ‘Deputy head of social
care policy’. These people are grouped together in the hierarchy due their
function in the organisation, this would help Ofsted’s collaborative working as
one employee will be working with other employees that have the same function.
This structure allows for a degree of collaborative working which would not be
possible if the hierarchy of Ofsted was not filtered by function, for example
if an employee from the corporate strategy side of Ofsted and the social care
side of Ofsted are working together they may have relatively little information
to share between each other, and if one of them ran into an issue with their
work it is unlikely that the other would be able to assist. However, if an
employee from the social care department of Ofsted ran into an issue with
his/her work and he/she was surrounded by other employees also working in the
social care department of Ofsted, in this situation it is likely that other
employees may be able to assist in rectifying the issue encountered. This helps IKM as it is a form of strategic
knowledge management, by allowing employees with knowledge in the same area to
work together you inadvertently allow them to fill potential gaps in their
knowledge of the area they work in.
divisions that support horizontal information flows, with Ofsted facts that
show this happening in practice.
Ofsted consists of 8 regions, all across England. A regional
director heads each region and the director has the responsibility of ensuring
quality inspection as well as improvement of the providers from their region of
operation (Perryman et al, 2017, p. 14). Ofsted’s
regional structure purpose is to distribute organisational resources more
efficiently and effectively to areas where they will have the greatest
impact. It is the work of the regional
directors to work with their teams in the region and obtain data and
information. They then report this information to the senior management, thus
ensuring that the organisation meets his objective of improving the regions.
The fact that Ofsted regional managers work with their teams in the region
underlines a strong horizontal communication which is needs to be strong
through the organisation for information knowledge and data to be shared. An
example of the regional communication can be found in her majesty’s chief
inspectors annual report where it suggests a teaching supply model was
implemented across all of Ofsted’s 8 regions, this shows a strong horizontal
communication as all the managers of the 8 regions implemented the model seamlessly.
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The Independent Education
Consultants. (2017). What Is Ofsted Or ISI and What Do They Do? – Independent Education Consultants.
online Available at: http://independenteducationconsultants.co.uk/choosing-a-school/what-is-ofsted-or-isi- and-what-do-they-do
Accessed 25 Dec. 2017.