The narrowness is from the singular focus of each position: regulatory issues and scientific study.
The span of control for the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations and the Director International Affairs is narrow but deep. The director of international affairs must be knowledgeable of the international laws, issues and players of the countries with whom the U.S. may have disputes. The skills of the administrative team differ greatly from those of the other divisions; however, all the other divisions need these skills — finance, accounting, and technology -.
A divisional organizational structure groups together subject matter experts and provides them with a clear scope of responsibilities. At NOAA Fisheries, two of the teams, the regulatory and scientific teams, are regionalized. Each of theses divisions have the responsible for a specific skill set which needs to be replicated in different areas within the U.S. The strength of a divisional structure is that knowledge and best practices can be shared amongst the team.
One weakness of the divisional structure is redundant resources on each team. Dr. Balsiger avoided this pitfall by creating an administrative function team, which can serve both the regulatory group and the scientific group.
By centralizing these functions into one group, NOAA avoids the expense of having multiple people performing the same tasks.
Dr. Balsiger was very creative in his organizational structure; he combined a divisional structure with a functional structure. The divisional structure works well for the decentralized needs of the regulatory and scientific team. The functional structure for both the administrative team and the Director International Affairs was a wise decision; the skills for each position are very specialized and do not need to be duplicated in each of the divisionally structured teams.
In addition to using a mixed methodology for his organizational design, Dr. Balsiger has limited his direct reports to four. The small size of his direct report team will streamline communications between the direct reports and him, while facilitating communications between the direct reports. A strong team is one that can understand the roles of their peers and when one leader is considering a decision or action that may impact anothers team, they are able to proactively work together to minimize conflicts..