An office provides a number of office services to the whole organization. These services relates to the functions of an office. Such services may be provided from a central place for the benefits of all departments in an organization or to allow each department to have its own office services independently.
This is an arrangement whereby certain services common to all departments like typing, filling supply of stationery etc are provided from a central place
The opposite of centralization is decentralization or departmentalization whereby each department provides for its services
Both these arrangements have their respective advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of centralization
- This arrangement helps to follow the principle of specialization
- Its economical to the organization
- Reduces the number of furniture and equipment as well
- Reduces the duplication of work and activities
- There is an even and fair distribution of work in a centralized office
- This arrangement make easy to follow staff leave rotation policy
- A broader experience of the work of the office is given to one place which in turn means more facilities for staff training and development
Advantages of departmentalization
- Departmental office services speed up work as there is less volume of work and documents
- Its suitable for certain tasks of confidential nature like accounting personal work
- Departmentalization reduces need for messengers and collection services between departments
- Its offers personal contact between workers and executives
- It reduces dissatisfaction of staff at the segregation of sexes that results from the creation of central services department of this type
- This arrangement helps the workers to learn more in addition to their routine work
- Sometimes lack of coordination and cooperation departments can result in delays, Departmentalization system avoids such delays
NB: The advantages of centralization are disadvantages of departmentalization and vice versa.
Advantages of centralization of typing pool
- Make economical use of typist labor as the typing pool supervisor spreads work evenly and fairly equal among the typists.
- Sickness and holiday difficulties are easily overcome as real allocation can easily be done.
- Training of new typist is easily done as all typist jointly contribute toward the training of s new member
- Interruption to work is avoided as telephone and all other queries are dealt with by supervisor.
- Noise especially emanating from manual typewriters is confined to one place.
- Less time is wasted compared to departmental typing.
- Higher standard of work can be achieved as there tends to be competition among typists.
Disadvantages of centralization
- Lack of personal contact between the typist and the executive which to a large extent is supposed to create a good working relationship.
- Increased need for messengers to collect scripts from the various department to the typing pool and back.
- No specialization for particular work
- Don’t give secretaries a chance of upward mobility.
- It provides an atmosphere of gossip leading to waste of valuable time
- Tendency by the supervisor to over work certain while giving less work to others.
- Economy of space can be achieved.
- A uniform system of filing can be established throughout the organizations
- Files movement is efficiently controlled. This enables an efficient follow up system.
- It avoids duplication where each department needs a copy a certain document
- Suitable qualified staff are appointed or trained for the purpose
- Less costly as few staff are appointed or handle for the purpose
Disadvantages of filing
- Retrieval procedure may be longer than if it was localized
- Filing staff may not have specialized departmental knowledge which is helpful when filling some certain documents.
- It is desirable for confidential documents such as personnel records, salary, legal documents etc.