Relationships

Definition

By defining relationships between objects, you create a hierarchy of objects that mirrors your organizational structure.

Use

In Detail Maintenance, you create relationships between objects by entering information in the Relationship infotype (1001). In Simple Maintenance, it is more straightforward. When you create a new object, the system creates that object’s relationships.

You use the network of relationships between objects to model the reporting structures of your organization.

Structure

There are many different types of relationships between objects in Organizational Management. It is the relationships between objects that give information its value. It is important to understand the syntax used to identify relationships and the structure of relationships.

Syntax Used to Identify Relationships

The standard syntax used to identify a relationship is A/B 000. A/B refers to the two different sides of a relationship, which you create when you link two objects. The system calls these sides passive (A) and active (B). They form the reciprocal relationship, and are vital in holding the relationship together. The three-digit numerical code identifies the relationship.

You assign a position to an organizational unit, to identify where the position is allocated. The system creates a relationship infotype record between the organizational unit and the position. You can check the relationship in the Relationship infotype screen in Detail Maintenance. This relationship is called 003. This means the position belongs to the organizational unit, which in turn incorporates the position. The organizational unit’s relationship record is B 003 and the position’s is A 003.

Structure of Relationships

A relationship between two objects can be structured:

For example, the relationship between a senior position in an organizational unit and another position in that same unit is hierarchical. The senior position (B 002) is line supervisor to the lower placed position (A 002) which reports to the position above.

A lateral or flat relationship, for example, is relationship 041, which names a situation where two jobs are equivalent, and can replace each other. One side of the relationship is A 041, the other is B 041, but the two sides have equal standing. A relationship between a job and a position is also a lateral relationship.

A relationship can be one-sided. For example, a relationship between an object (such as a position) and an external object type (a cost center in Controlling, perhaps), has only one direction and so is one-sided.

Integration

Inheritance is one of the most powerful aspects of Organizational Management. Inheritance is when an object automatically receives attributes assigned to another object. It occurs when:

For example, positions always inherit the attributes of the job to which they are related. This concept is fundamental.

The lower-level objects inherit the attributes of the higher-level objects unless you specifically provide other attributes. (The Simple Maintenance tree structure, which illustrates this hierarchy, can help you visualize how inheritance takes place.)

Inheritance is particularly useful as a time-saver. In setting up your organizational plan, you create numerous objects with individual attributes. However, many objects share the same attributes. Entering the same attributes for each object takes a lot of time. Instead, inheritance does this for you.

If you need to enter the working hours of 40 positions, you define the working hours for the organizational unit, and the positions inherit these automatically. Or, perhaps your company has employed 20 new consultants. Each of these positions inherits the attributes of the job consultant.