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Organisational Structure as Illustrated in the Movie by Referring to the Ants Colony

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BDO 271

Assignment: ANTZ

Bianca L Fraser

  1. Discuss the Organisational structure as illustrated in the movie by referring to the Ants Colony structure and the Insectopia structure. This description should include all the major elements regarding organisational structure and the application of the theory by means of examples as found in the movie.

An organisational structure is “the way in which a job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated.” (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013) The film Antz illustrates to us how this concept is used by dividing the ant colony into their specific groups. Six elements are addressed when looking at an organisational structure which include;

Work specialisation

Work specialisation is the division of labour, where an organisation’s tasks are subdivided into distinct jobs, each completed by a separate individual. In the first five minutes of the film we see images of the little lava ants being given their individual working status, worker ants taking their place in the lines of production, and soldier ants training for battle. (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013)


Departmentalization comes into being when jobs in the organisation are grouped together.  Jobs can be divided into groups in different ways, functions performed is one of the more popular ways of doing this. In the film there are two major functions to be performed; the function of the worker ants digging tunnels and the function of the soldier ants that fight rivalry pests or insects. Another way could be by the type of product or service the organisation produces or on the basis of geography. Each colony of ants is situated in different areas of the planet and all have their own individual queen and leader. (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013)

Chain of command

Chain of command can be defined as “The unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of the organisation to the lowest echelon and clarifies who reports to whom.” (A.Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 2013) The queen is at the top of the line of authority and her daughter princess Bala is next. The general known as a manager in an organization controls the lower levels being the workers and the soldiers who lie at the bottom of the authority chain.

Span of control

The amount of underlings a manager is capable to direct professionally and effectively. The general selects ants to manage smaller groups to whom they report back to him on performance. The selected ants then control and supervise their groups to oversee the job is being done correctly. (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013)

Centralization and decentralization

Centralization is defined as “the degree to which decision making is concentrated at a single point in the organisation.” (A.Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 2013) The top managers make all the decisions and the lower level managers simply carry out their results.

Decentralization however the decision making is pushed down to the managers who are closest to the action.

The colonies management structure is centralized because the queen and the general make the decisions and the rest of the colony follow the decisions made. (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013)


The degree to which jobs within the organization is standardized” (A.Judge, what is an organizational structure, 2013) the soldiers of the colony march in strict straight and formal lines when going into battle.

The Beureaucracy

The ants of the colony all are under the leadership of the General who portrays the Bureaucracy design.

This means that there are high routine tasks attained through specialization, the worker ants have a strict routine every day and the soldier ants are taught to fight in classes that are formalised according to a routine. There are formalised rules and regulations in which the ants know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed; they also know what they can do and when they cannot do it. Tasks are grouped into functional departments, the soldier ants are put into different departments to exercise and learn how to fight in a battle, and the worker ants are also put into different departments of places to dig, and the extra other jobs such as creating the big ball to swing and hit the rocks. The authority is centralised in bureaucracy, and in the film; the General is seen to be the leader of the non-superior ants. A narrow span of control meaning each supervisor has a small group of ants in which he/she supervises over and they report back to the General. The decision making of the General follows the chain of command in which there is a line of authority from the Queen through the General until the normal non-superior ants.

 The advantage of this leadership design is that there is efficient ways of performance of standardised activities. There is also a stable leadership and everyone knows to whom they can follow orders from.

The disadvantage could entail workers not forming part of the decision making process, which could lead to unhappy workers such as Zee. (A.Judge, Bureaucracy, 2013)


A boundaryless organization is an organization that pursues to disregard the chain of command, have unlimited spans of control and exchanges departments with authorized teams. By removing vertical boundaries, management even outs the chain of command and, decreases status and rank. (A.Judge, The Bureaucracy, 2013) Insectopia can be considered a boundaryless organisation because they do not have predetermined rule’s, workers have the freedom of making decisions. Zee had imagined going there to explore and use his own initiative and creative ideas to do what he wished instead of what he was forced to do in the colony.

The Mechanistic model - “a structure characterized by extensive departmentalization, high formulization, a limited information network and centralization.” (A.Judge, why do structures differ, 2013) It is identical with the bureaucracy.  This model can be seen in the Generals structure of the colony, because there were boundaries on what ants were allowed to do. There were also strict requirements on the tasks and jobs of both ants and the soldiers. The ants had to work hard at digging with a supervisor watching them and ensuring they act correctly and the soldiers had strict formalities when marching into battle.



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