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    The lattice organization structure: learning from the expectations of

    Generation-Y talents in Engineering & Construction industry

    Article December 2013




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    Dibyendu Chakraborty

    ESMT European School of Management and Technology



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  • The lattice organization structure: learning from the expectations of Generation-Y talents in Engineering & Construction industry

    Dibyendu Chakraborty

    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present the statistical analysis and the result of a survey undertaken to study the influence of motivating & hygiene factors on Generation Y talents in a matrix organisation structure within the Engineering & Construction industry. In recent times, academicians & practitioners in all fields of management have been engaged in identifying the need, interest & passion of Generation-Y. Since, this future generation will be engaged in a lot of Strategic Implementation, their views are considered of high value. The author, being part of engineering & construction industry, conducted a sample survey among young trainee engineers to understand what motivates them and what maintains job hygiene. This study was based on their verbal feedback that they want their job content to be congruent with their passion. In a project matrix work structure, can we imagine of passion as a third dimension? When corporations are more & more engaged in CSR activities, can this be the third dimension? Instead of a matrix organization structure, can we build a workable and sustainable three dimensional lattice structure? This article examines how Project function & Line function influences selected motivation & hygiene factors as perceived today by Generation-Y. Further, with the introduction of the third dimension, the study presents the change in the influence pattern. Although it is based on a restricted sample, but this case study provides some revealing facts for project management community to explore further. Key Words: Generation-Y Talent, Lattice organization structure, Motivation hygiene factor, Engineering & Construction industry. Authors Profile:

    Author is a Mechanical Engineer from Jadavpur University, Kolkata & member of Project Management Institute (PMI) Mumbai Chapter. He is currently working with Uhde India Private Limited, Mumbai as Deputy General Manager-Projects. He has 22 years of experience in Project Management in Refinery, Chemical & Fertilizer domain. Prior to this job, he has worked with Larsen & Toubro limited in similar field. Apart from the regular official work, he is presently perusing his Executive MBA with European School of Management & Technology, Berlin- Germany. His areas of interests are international strategy and talent management.

    Postal address: A-403 Greenwich, Hiranandani Estate, Ghod Bunder Road, Thane -400607. Telephone : +91-22-25861074 , Mobile : +91-9167251434 E-mail : ,

  • The lattice organization structure: learning from the expectations of Generation-Y talents in Engineering & Construction industry

    Dibyendu Chakraborty

    1. Introduction Idea of this article is originated from a case study undertaken on Generation Y talents in Engineering & Construction industry (referred as E&C). The study itself has roots on apparently two disjointed issues: i) inflow and nurturing of future Generation-Y talents, ii) working conflict of current matrix organization structure. Although the field data is collected from E&C industry, but these two issues have general appeal in practically all organizations, especially where project is executed.

    I would like to set the context in bigger landscape by quoting Mr Amitabh Kants thought provoking key note address delivered in 2012 PMI India annual conference in Chennai. Mr Kant, CEO & Managing Director of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Limited, provided the details of mammoth task ahead in next 20-30 years to create huge industrialization in India by urbanization. He also quoted management thinker late C K Prahalad & explained that India need to build 500 cities by 2020. This brings our focus to the very basic question, who will perform majority of the work? The generic reply is Generation-Y talents, spanning from mere construction workers to high end managers.

    Next associated question comes what motivates these talent pools to perform the work? Is it nationalism? Is it sense of duty? Or is it internal urge? In current protectized E&C organizations, we still feel unbalanced forces between line function and project function. Of course, it varies from organization to organization depending on responsibility-authority-reward structure. But to understand this aspect, the first requirement should be to know what the current perception of this generation is. I have used the word learning in the topic heading specifically for this reason.

    To make the context clear I have briefly described general characteristics of Generation-Y and E&C landscape at the beginning of this article. After that, the backgrounds of this study and survey methodology are discussed. While carrying out the survey, I have formulated hypothesis to impart structure to this work. According to this hypothesis, another dimension, referred as CSR function, (signifies passion or areas of interest of generation-Y talents) is assumed other than project function and line function which are prevailing in a typical matrix organization structure.

    Finally, survey results and observations are added with applicable conclusion. In my personal opinion, generational issues are being handled by various IT companies because of large young talents already existing at least for average 10 years. So, the survey results may have some resonance with whatever good practices already existing in IT industry. But I would like to draw attentions of the readers in different perspective here. When E&C views are also getting stronger, probably it calls for much larger & generic analysis rather than prescriptive solution sporadically adopted by some companies. Hence, I have proposed mental model of three dimensional lattice structure (Figure 9b) of organization instead of matrix structure predominantly used by project management community.

    This article has limitations as well. Firstly, the survey questions directly compare perceptual importance of any pair of forces drawn from Line, Project and CSR function. But influence of CSR function on existing Line-Project pair is drawn (figure 7&8) by using arithmetic proportionality for which I have no academic reference material. Second limitation is about the scope of selection of motivation & hygiene factors. Since, the proposed conclusion is only towards generic direction & not to have any quantification or prescriptive solution, I feel these li