There are two types of reporting viz administratively and functionally-
These terms are used in discussions of organizational structure and refer to who reports to whom... or, who supervises whom. You could report to someone administratively, functionally or both.
Reporting to someone administratively means that person is your official supervisor, with formal responsibility to hire, train, evaluate, pay and potentially fire you. This is sometimes referred to as hiring-and-firing authority.
If you report to someone functionally, it means the person is in a more senior role in your business function (for example, marketing, operations, HR or sales), and is therefore responsible for providing you with guidance and general direction on matters pertaining to your business function.
If you report administratively to someone who is also a senior manager of your function, you are reporting both administratively and functionally.
Let's take an example of adopting a functional management structure. If I am human resources manager for a plant in Mumbai, I could report functionally and administratively to the vice president of HR at corporate offices - and be responsible for supporting the plant manager in Mumbai with HR programs and processes. The plant manager would be my primary internal customer, but would not have the authority to terminate or promote me.
While the difference between these two approaches may seem unimportant and easy to understand, organizational dynamics - such as power, influence, prestige and accountability - can shift dramatically when a change is implemented from one reporting structure to the other.
Imagine the differences in organizational dynamics between the following two job descriptions:
1. Reports administratively to line management
Title: HR Manager
Reports to: Plant Manager
Develop and implement HR programs that support the business objectives of the Mumbai plant. Consult with corporate HR regarding corporate policies and programs.
2. Reports administratively to functional management
Title: HR Manager
Reports to: VP of HR
Provide Mumbai plant with local HR support. Guide local managers in the effective implementation of corporate programs and policies.
In the organizational structure administratively reporting is shown with a line and functional reporting with a dotted line.
Hope this clears your doubt..if not please feel free to ask for clarifications.
15th November 2007 From India, Pune