What Is the Definition of a Functional Organizational Structure?

A functional organizational structure is one in which an organization is divided into different departments or functional work activities. Common functions include operations, accounting, marketing, information technology and human resources. A level of top managers typically oversees the work carried out in each functional area.

According to an article for the Houston Chronicle, the primary benefit of a functional structure is that each significant work activity is organized into one area. This approach allows the workers in that area to collaborate on tasks. A drawback is that employees may focus too much on their own function and not enough on the company’s big picture. Lack of cooperation between functions may also occur.