According to Pugh (1990), the organizational structure is an instrument that appears from the need to fulfill the organizational aims and objectives with the tools and activities that are available. Following the way that this process is managed, several types of organizational structures can be identified, including pre-bureaucratic structures, bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic structures, functional structures, divisional structures and matrix structures.
Westinghouse organizational structure falls into several different categories. On one hand, it is a bureaucratic structure. Among the characteristics of such an organization, Weber (1948) identifies several: “precision, speed, unambiguity, & #8230; strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs- these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration.”
The bureaucratic nature of the organizational structure at Westinghouse is motivated by at least two aspects: (1) the nature of the industry in which Westinghouse operates: the nuclear industry, highly regulated, which implies that the organization follows strict rules and regulations, because many of these are required by the industry; (2) the close relationship of the company with the military.
These characteristics of the organizational structure at Westinghouse also translate into a hierarchical organizational structure. The most important idea of a hierarchical organizational structure is that each department is subordinated to some coordinating entity, a nominal head of the department, who subsequently reports to someone else in the chain of command. This type of hierarchical structure, as Camille Kovach pointed out, is typical of military institutions and Westinghouse, working a significant amount of time with this industry, has adopted many of its characteristics.
Looking at the company’s organizational chart, it is also interesting to note that the company also has a division organizational structure. However, the argument that Westinghouse also uses this model can only be supported by analyzing the degree to which the divisions are relatively independent in terms of resources and leadership. There is not enough information about this in the organizational chart. The divisions are geographical, with one division for America, one division for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and one division for Asia.
The three presidents are Mark Marano for the Americas, Yves Brachet, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Jack Allen, for Asia. Mark Marano has been working for over 20 years in the nuclear industry, in different companies before joining Westinghouse in 2006. Jack Allen has also an important regional experience, having worked as President and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Japan KK. Yves Brachet has 30 years of experience in the industry and joined the company in France, in 2004.
There also appears to be a functional component to some of the other divisions, given by the fact that some of the divisions refer to the specific activity within that department. For example, there is a division that covers Nuclear Energy Systems & Services. All these functional divisions are coordinated by Senior Vice-presidents. On the organizational chart, there seems to be no subordination between functional divisions and geographical divisions, all of them being subordinated to Shigenori Shiga, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice-president.
The President and CEO of the company is Danny Roderick, he is subordinated to the Chairman of the Board of Directors and coordinates with the Division Presidents and Senior Vice-presidents. Danny Roderick is a recent addition to the team, having joined in 2012. He has over 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry, having also worked in Japan for several years.
From an organizational diversity perspective, Cox (1991) talks about three different types of organizations: the monolith type, the plural organization and the multicultural organization. Following this classification, Westinghouse appears to be a plural, even multicultural organization, which contains several cultural groups and supports diversity (Harvey, 2012).
There are several arguments in favor of this classification. Westinghouse is part of the larger Toshiba Group, which has brought into the company, in many positions, including leadership positions, Japanese managers. The chairman of the board is Japanese, several Japanese head the functional divisions and the answers can continue. This goes down at the lower levels of the organization: a presence of Japanese employees is very likely.
However, it is not only the Japanese cultural group that is a good example of multiculturalism. In the company’s management, one of the division presidents is French, one of the senior vice-presidents is Spanish: there is a distinct diversity at managerial level, something that is also expected at working level, since Westinghouse is a global company, with activities and operations all over the world.
This focus on diversity and on equal employment opportunities is also emphasized in the company’s ethics code of conduct, where it states that “Westinghouse is firmly committed to equal employment opportunity and a work environment that recognizes and respects employee contribution and diversity” (Westinghouse Electric Company Code of Business Ethics, 2012).
Many theoreticians have spent time examining different aspects of organizational culture, leading to different definitions, including to the creation of new culture categories and even to subcultures. For the case of Westinghouse, several models are worth a brief description, since they apply to the type of organizational culture that has been promoted at Westinghouse.
One of these is the model proposed by Dean and Kennedy (1982), who understood organizational culture as how things are done in a certain place. They used two variables to define organizational culture: level of risk and reward. According to the level of risks and the level of reward, four different types of organizations are identified: work-hard, play-hard; tough-guy/macho culture; process culture and bet-the-company culture.
An interview with Camille Kovach, Vice-President for Human Resources, Operations, Global Training and Development at Westinghouse, revealed that many of the characteristics of the organizational culture at Westinghouse are taken from the military, because of the nature of the company’s activities. This is because an important part of the work that Westinghouse does is in the nuclear industry, which, in many ways, is connected with the military, either through contracts or through human resources moving to and from. Another characteristic of the industry is that it is highly regulated, likely as a measure of minimizing risk (given the potential huge impact of an event occurring).
From these points-of-view, including the fact that Westinghouse is focused on the technological aspect of things, bringing in a large number of specialized engineers, one can highlight the organizational culture at Westinghouse as a work-hard, play-hard type of culture, where risks are low (because of existing regulations and because of the sensitive nature of the industry), but rewards are high (because of the highly specialized personnel, among other things).
Camille Kovach has also identified Westinghouse as being a hierarchical company. This classification reflects the model that Charles Handy (1985) has proposed. Handy links organizational culture to organizational structure and identifies four different types of organizational cultures: power culture (decisions are made by a small group of individuals), role culture (hierarchical bureaucracies), task culture (functional team structure) and person culture (focused on individuals).
In the case of Westinghouse, Camille Kovach has emphasized the hierarchical nature of the organizational culture at the company. With this in mind, Westinghouse is a typical role culture, organized according to a strict hierarchical bureaucracy (again, the military background likely plays a role in this). This is also clear from the previous presentation of the organizational structure, which shows there is a clear reporting relationship between the different departments and a specific interconnection between the different departments in the company.
The company’s website somewhat reflect the highly organized manner in which Westinghouse does business. The menu includes the most important aspects of the organization, including information about the company, product lines, newsroom, community or careers. Each option is then divided into several other options, according to a strict hierarchical structure. The product lines option, for example, lists the several areas of activity: nuclear automation, nuclear fuel, nuclear power plants and nuclear services.
The company’s PR also focuses strongly on messages to the mass media and on providing updated information for the press. There is a separate section for the news (newsroom), where information can be categorized into recent updates and general information, such as the executives’ biographies and media contacts. The company puts out regular press release, usually about several every week or every two weeks. The press releases can be accessed as far back as 2000 and there is a search engine to help with that.
The press releases, such as “Westinghouse, U.S. Rep. John Barrow Celebrate Construction Progress at Plant Vogtle” and “Westinghouse Sees Promising Future for Nuclear Energy Development in Brazil; AP1000(R) Plant ‘The Right Fit’ for Country’s Needs” have two roles. On one hand, they are informative, showing how the company has been developing in the last period of times and what its objectives are. On the other hand, they want to position the company as an important and influential player, well connected with the decision makers in the U.S. And outside of the country.
The position I would pursue in this organization would be as a business developer. There are several reasons for that. First, Westinghouse operates in some of the most interesting economic and technological sectors, including the nuclear industry and other cutting edge areas. Developments in these fields are often extremely dynamic and challenging, offering numerous business possibilities
Working in this department would allow me to pursue several of these, to work towards transforming technical ideas into business opportunities. It would also allow me to see both aspects of things: the technical aspect (without the risk of this becoming too technical, like it might in some of the functional divisions) and the business/economic aspect.
The second reason is the diversity and cultural exchange opportunity. The business development aspect at Westinghouse is coordinated by Akihiro Takubo, who is Japanese. This would be a wonderful opportunity to work with someone from the Japanese culture and benefit from his own perspective, background and interpretation of things. The Japanese way of doing business is different than the American one, because of all the cultural differences, so this could be a chance to understand how this works and, even more importantly, how Americans and Japanese are able to work side by side in the same organization: how they communicate, how they deal with conflict and conflict resolution, how decision is made etc.
1. Handy, Charles, (2007). Understanding Organizations. Penguin Books.
2. Deal T.E. And Kennedy, A.A. (1982) Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1982
3. Weber, M. (1948). Essays in Sociology. London: Routledge
4. Pugh, D.S., ed. (1990).Organization Theory: Selected Readings. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
5. n.a. (2012), Westinghouse Electric Company Code of Business Ethics. On the Internet at http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/docs/code_of_ethics.pdf. Last retrieved on December 5, 2013
6. Cox, Jr., Taylor (1991). “The Multicultural Organization.” Academy of Management Executive, 5(2), 34-47.
7. Harvey, Carol P. (2012). Understanding and Managing Diversity. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
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