In the last byte, we looked at the various orientations that differentiate different tasks and the various types there in. In today's byte, we look the horizontal differentiation.
Horizontal differentiation refers to the degree of differentiation between organizational subunits and is based on employee's specialized knowledge, education, or training. An example of the above could be two university professors who teach specialized subjects in different academic departments are subject to horizontal differentiation. Horizontal differentiation increases with specialization and departmentalization.
Specialization refers to the particular grouping of activities performed by an individual. The degree of specialization or the division of labor in the organization gives an indication of how much training is needed, what the scope of jobs, what individual characteristics are needed for job holders etc
It is interesting to note that as specialization in a subject increases, a specialized vocabulary also develops eg. "OB" would mean organizational behavior to the professors of management and possibly "obstetrics" to the professors in medicine.
The more specialized the jobs within an organization the more departments are differentiated within that organization (i.e. greater the departmentalization). Departmentalization can be by function, product, service, client, geography, process, or some combination of these.