In Michael Blanding’s article, “The Inner Workings of Corporate Headquarters,” the function and the role of a corporate headquarter is emphasized. It illustrates that coordination in an office or organizational work is very important and that the headquarter houses the whole operations of the enterprise in a more efficient manner. The explicit knowledge of the activities of each of the organizational department is very crucial to the maximum performance of the company. This only happens when there is a corporate headquarter. It integrates the works of each unit of the organization through its staff.
The article further explores the virtual roles of the corporate staff in coordinating the general functions of the company. It illustrates through the former research of Stuart and Kleinbaum that corporate staff networks are larger and more organized than those of line workers within all the departments of the company. With the use of the workers' e-mail networks, the researchers have plotted those who communicates with whom. It shows that the corporate staff do not only have larger networks in the organization or more contacts but they also act as brokers between various actors in the organization across all of its departments.
There are three hypotheses presented to explain this phenomenon. First, it is explained that corporate staff have established a more centralized network in line with the functions of their positions. Another explanation is that those which are not part of the corporate staff are taken in when they have shown potentials fro creating a larger networks within the organization. Thus, they are recruited to join the corporate staff. Lastly, those who are not creating a large network in the corporate staff department are wedded out of the staff positions over time.
Out of these hypotheses, Stuart and Kleinbaum find the first two hypotheses as strong contentions and the last one as the weaker one. The second hypothesis is actually the strongest among the three. To simplify, the researchers describe those who are taking corporate staff positions already have or tend to have a bigger, more centralized networks. This actually enables them to extend their new roles, which is that of a company broker. Their research further shows that the change in one’s corporate staff position instantly change corporate networks and links. Hence, if someone is moved from a corporate staff position to a line position or vice versa, networks shift.
The article shows a surprise revelation that the change in one’s network once he/she changes his/her position is very instant. The researchers thought that line staff would gradually change their networks when they are moved to another position. Thus, they were surprised to see that their networks swiftly change when their job functions change. This is also very evident when one move from a line position to a corporate staff position. However, when a worker is moved to a line position from a corporate one, they tend to retain their old networks.
These findings and conclusions are very true to large organizations and/or companies but it is not proven in smaller organizations. The research reveals many valuable data which confound or affirm various theories formed on corporate headquarters and its roles. To reiterate, headquarters staffers coordinate the activities of the company’s various departments. They function as network builders and brokers between individuals in sublime operations within the organization.
This article is very useful in our understanding of the various implicit strategies and elements which are very potential factors in improving operations management. The main function of operations management is to develop a company’s inputs into a final product or service. Inputs consist of human resources (such as the staff or workers and managers), structures and processes. It also includes information, materials and technology. Meanwhile, outputs refer to the actual good or service that the company sells to the market.
There is no greater organizational resource than the corporate headquarter itself, most especially its people. This very important human resource is crucial to the efficient operations and success of the company. As it is, Business Intelligence Optimization needs Operations Managers to have a thorough understanding of their products’ performance. They can only achieve this when they have an in depth information resource through both internal and external resources.
Operations management orchestrates all these resources (inputs) to create the ﬁnal product (or the output). In each of the segment of the value chain, the role of the headquarter staff is very important. Thus, for operations management to be great, there must be an enhanced value along the process of production.
Again, the headquarter staff could come in as a potent resource to help the company achieve its ends. One example of a value added product is the efﬁciency by which the people in all the various departments peform in their job functions. If the corporate staff do not help the operations managers create more value to the company, then there is inefficiency and failure in the process. Crucial to this is the firsthand information which staff could elicit from their large networks. Such valuable inputs can largely contribute to enhance production or introduce value enhancements for the company’s good or service.
While a company's operations management strategy consists of focusing on its core competencies vis a vis the market, it also needs to be well integrated into its internal capacities and its general environment. Therefore, their own corporate staff can do very well in contributing to this goal. In mobilizing their resources, they can always count on their headquarter staff to act as their networkers and data or information suppliers. By virtue of a centralized and unified organization and control, the company can function better in achieving its strategic operational goals.
They can rely on their corporate headquarters staff to align various strategic goals, especially now that the market competition is very stiff. Optimal performance is crucial and the insights of their highly networked staff can be very contigent to their plans and actual operations. The collaboration of the company is very powerful in combating their competitors. The company can make use of alliances inside and outside their organization through the use of their people and their links.
This article is most applicable especially now that corporate headquarters are becoming more useful in the management world. In a global market, concentration and centralization are becoming more useful and the role of the corporate staff is getting more significant. In larger organizations, most especially, the management approach is relative to the direct approach and the size of the headquarter staff. This only implies the heightened roles of the staff. Corporate headquarters are turning out to be more of a “leader” than just mere "service providers."
Blanding, M. (April 16, 2012). The Inner Workings of Corporate Headquarters. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Retrieved on April 17, 2012 from, http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6934.html.