- Pages: 2
- Word count: 468
- Category: Structures
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An organizational structure consists of activities such as task allocation, coordination and supervision, which are directed towards the achievement of organizational aims. It can also be considered as the viewing glass or perspective through which individuals see their organization and its environment.
Organizations are a variant of clustered entities.
An organization can be structured in many different ways, depending on their objectives. The structure of an organization will determine the modes in which it operates and performs.
Organizational structure allows the expressed allocation of responsibilities for different functions and processes to different entities such as the branch, department, workgroup and individual.
Organizational structure affects organizational action in two big ways. First, it provides the foundation on which standard operating procedures and routines rest. Second, it determines which individuals get to participate in which decision-making processes, and thus to what extent their views shape the organization’s actions. Organizational structures developed from the ancient times of hunters and collectors in tribal organizations through highly royal and clerical power structures to industrial structures and today’s post-industrial structures.
As pointed out by L. B. Mohr, the early theorists of organizational structure, Taylor, Fayol, and Weber “saw the importance of structure for effectiveness and efficiency and assumed without the slightest question that whatever structure was needed, people could fashion accordingly. Organizational structure was considered a matter of choice…When in the 1930s, the rebellion began that came to be known as human relations theory, there was still not a denial of the idea of structure as an artifact, but rather an advocacy of the creation of a different sort of structure, one in which the needs, knowledge, and opinions of employees might be given greater recognition.” However, a different view arose in the 1960s, suggesting that the organizational structure is “an externally caused phenomenon, an outcome rather than an artifact.” In the 21st century, organizational theorists such as Lim, Griffiths, and Sambrook (2010) are once again proposing that organizational structure development is very much dependent on the expression of the strategies and behavior of the management and the workers as constrained by the power distribution between them, and influenced by their environment and the outcome.
Weber (1948, p. 214) gives the analogy that “the fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine compare with the non-mechanical modes of production. Precision, speed, unambiguity, … strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs- these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration.” Bureaucratic structures have a certain degree of standardization. They are better suited for more complex or larger scale organizations, usually adopting a tall structure. The tension between bureaucratic structures and non-bureaucratic is echoed in Burns and Stalker’s distinction between mechanistic and organic structures.