Availability of logical and explicit organizational structure

The structure of an organization refers to the staffing and decision-making framework that assigns personnel according to their authority and level of responsibility. The structure is clearly articulated when it provides clear lines of authority and accountability, distribution of responsibilities, and lines of communication.

Evidence that relationships, supervision, roles, and responsibilities have been formally defined; description of how decisions are made in the organization.

Organizational chart; written job descriptions; policy manual(s); interviews with staff at all organizational levels.

This indicator measures whether an organization has a clearly defined structure - roles, responsibilities, and authority - both "on paper" and in practice. Evaluators can find evidence by reviewing whether the organization has:

  • An organizational chart (organogram) illustrating authority and communication lines;
  • A policy manual clearly defining roles and responsibilities for staff (and board members) as well as the formal system of delegation;
  • Job descriptions detailing responsibilities and supervisory lines; and
  • A written, defined process to review the structure periodically to ensure consistency with the organization's current strategies.

Measuring these aspects requires developing a simple scale from 0 to 4. A program without any of the four documents listed above receives the lowest score (0), while one with all elements receives the highest score (4).

Organizational decision-making processes may or may not conform to those embodied in the formally defined organizational structure. To make this determination, one can assess the appropriateness of staff for the positions they fill and the extent to which they actually make the decisions called for in the "formal" document (e.g., by interviewing staff to determine how one or more recent important decisions were made).

Assessment for the indicator will tend to be more subjective than for the previous one, which involved simply measuring the existence of documents. However, evaluators can apply the same type of scale as in the previous indicator (ranging from no conformity to full conformity).

The validity of the indicator is based on the assumption that a clear definition of roles, responsibilities, and decision-making in an organization promotes strategic and operational decision-making that optimizes the use of available resources. The organizational structure must be (at least partially) amenable to change as directed by the organization's management/leadership.


A logical and explicit organizational structure with clear lines of authority and accountability is an important indicator of management capacity. In many organizations, women are plentiful at lower levels of responsibility, but do not reach the top management positions. Many factors contribute to women's ability to rise to management positions in an organization, including their lower levels of school enrollment and literacy. Gender discrimination in the organization can be said to exist when women have the necessary educational qualifications and experience to compete for a particular job but are denied access on the basis of sex. Job descriptions and qualifications can also be written to exclude women by requiring skills or experience that women have no means to gain access to. Logical and explicit structure should include commitment to hiring and promotion on the basis of appropriately identified qualifications.

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