000.7 Policy on Organizational Relationships

Created by: Stephanie Ferguson on 08/17/2001
Category: 0 - General Administration; 00 - General
Originator: President
Current File: 000.7
Adoption Date: 12/05/2011
Reviewed for Currency: 12/05/2011
Replaces File: 000.7
Date of Origin: 01/23/1974
Classification: Faculty
In Archive? 0

000.7 Policy on Organizational Relationships


A. Background

Even though a well-defined organizational structure exists at Furman, effective relationships and communications require the support of the President as well as other administrative personnel and of the faculty. While formal organizational relationships are important, ways must also be developed for individuals to engage in informal contacts with others in the administrative structure for purposes of liaison or decision making. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that these informal relationships do not contribute to a breakdown in communications.


B. Policy

The organization chart shall constitute the formal authority-responsibility relationships within the university. Formal communications, either upward or downward, should normally adhere to established lines of authority; nevertheless, working relationships requiring informal contacts are often necessary. In order that there be no breakdown in communications, however, responsible superiors should be informed of agreements made during informal contacts before any important action is taken. Also, provision should be made for bypassing an individual who appears to be blocking communications, either upward or downward. Officers of the Student Government Association, as formal representatives of the student body as a whole, should maintain close liaison and communication with the Office of Vice President for Student Life on any matter not covered explicitly by the Constitution of the Student Government Association. As with faculty and administrative officers, informal contacts are encouraged; however, the Vice President for Student Life should be informed of any agreements before important action is taken. Again, provision should be made for circumventing an individual in the event blockage of communications is encountered or an impasse appears to be developing. The president, inasmuch as he is ultimately responsible for the effective functioning of the university, has final authority over all decisions made in the university, subject to the will of the Board of Trustees.


C. Guidelines

1. Delegation of authority and responsibility should be undertaken as a means of developing participative management as well as encouraging decision making at the lowest level feasible.

2. Formal contacts are those which adhere strictly to the chain of command while informal contacts are those contacts with individuals outside the chain necessary for the effective operation of the institution.

3. Contacts across functional lines should be undertaken with the full understanding that immediate superiors be notified, either formally or informally, before any important agreement is ratified or action taken.

4. Provisions should be made by each administrator for coordination with peer, superior, or subordinate personnel responsible for one or more overlapping functional areas so that communication failures do not occur.

5. Functional authority and responsibility may be delegated, but it may not be abdicated.

6. Position descriptions emphasizing not only authorities and responsibilities but also formal organizational relationships should be developed as a means of assisting administrative officers and faculty in understanding jurisdictional limitations as well as recognized authority-responsibility relationships and communication channels.

7. Appropriate organization and staffing must be established and maintained to fill approved positions with well-qualified, highly motivated personnel consistent with Furman's Affirmative Action Plan.

8. Copies of the organization chart are in the Appendices of the Faculty Handbook and the Policies and Procedures.