Structural Perspective On Organizations Report Example
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Organizational structure is among the concepts that explain and predict the causes and forms of behavior that people exhibit in organizations. Organizational structure is an intrinsic factor that influences behavior externally. It influences behavior through coordination, units, distribution of authority and division of labor. Structure refers to a pattern of actions and interactions that influence the actions of members of an organization. The structural perspective on organizations involves exploring the influence of structure on organizational performance. Structure influences organizational performance in various ways and the success of an organization depends on its structure.
Wright's Architectural Dictum
Frank Lloyd Wright once stated that form follows function implying that design aims at creating results out of its primary purpose. The same idea applies in understanding the structural perspective on organizations. Organizational structure is a deliberate pattern of actions aimed at enhancing the achieving organizing goals. In such an instance, the basis of understanding the structural perspective on organizations is the assumption of purposefulness. The assumption is that organizational structure has a purpose. It purpose is to achieve organizational goals and that its purposefulness implies that organizational structure is a rational instrument that is in the hands of the managers.
Managers use structure to achieve the goals of an organization. They ensure that the achieve rationality by differentiating an integrating the collective roles and activities of members of the organization. The main areas of differentiation are the managerial and operational activities of the organization. An organization differentiates its activities through the division of labor thus establishing specialization among members. In the case of differentiation within managerial activities, the manager establishes the role of every manager in decision making and either decentralizes or centralizes authority.
Mintzberg's Structural Model
Financial service firms have tight procedures and control systems whereas staff in design agencies operate as free agents. In most cases, organizations merge for the sake of achieving synergies. However, organizations also split for the sake of creating separate but agile divisions. Therefore, there are a variety of organizations because organizations rely on structures to create a difference in the way they achieve their goals. It is the reason for some companies achieve success through strict controls and others suffering terrible results when they duplicate the same strict controls. The success of an organization depends on how the organization integrates and coordinates key elements of their internal as well as external business environment. Additionally, successful organizations appreciate that it is important to establish a process of reviewing and redesigning organizational structures. The process should be ongoing throughout the life time of the organization. Mintzberg believes that the structure of an organization combines strategy, environmental experiences and the structure itself to achieve organizational goals.
An organization achieves integration by forming unit groups and coordinating activities. Forming unit groups is synonymous to establishing departments and involves organizing tasks into organizational units on the basis of the results, efforts or a combination of both. Organizing tasks around results creates market units whereas organizing tasks around efforts creates functional units. On the other hand, organizing tasks around both efforts and results creates a hybrid unit. Coordination harmonizes individual as well as group activities within the organization. Thus, coordination enables an organization to function as a single unit. There are five basic approaches to achieving coordination within an organization including direct supervision, standardizing output and mutual communication. Other approaches include knowledge standardization and process standardization ().
Differentiation and integration during the process of structuring organizations creates four dimensions including coordination, job design, delegation of authority and grouping units. The four dimensions are congruent implying that they work in harmony. Mintzberg believes that congruency is an important factor when structuring organizations. The assumption is that congruency enhances an organization’s ability to achieve its goals. The success of an organization relies on its ability to achieve congruency among the various dimensions of its structure. Consequently, the establishment of mutual congruence among different structural dimensions of an organization results in the formation of models of organizational structure.
Mintzberg offers the most common models of organizational structure. The models include:
It is a simple model that has a flat structure. Such an organization has a single large unit and a few top managers. It is highly flexible because it lacks standardized systems and is informal. The best example of an entrepreneurial organization is a young company under the control and management of its founder (Mintzberg, 1979).
The machine organization is highly standardized and formal. It has numerous routines and procedures and decision-making is centralized. Additionally, tasks within a machine organization are grouped into functional departments.
The professional organization also exhibits some level of bureaucracy but relies on the services of professionals who work independently (Mintzberg, 1979). Thus, such an organization has a high degree of specialization and decision-making is decentralized.
The divisional organization has numerous business units and operates using a divisional structure (Mintzberg, 1979). These divisions are autonomous from the headquarters and make their own decisions.
An innovative organization operates using an ad hoc organizational structure. Such an organization hires professionals from different fields to form a creative team that works towards achieving organizational goals (Mintzberg, 1979).
Organizational structures direct the manner in which members of an organizations act towards achieving organizational goals. Thus, organizational structure greatly influences the success of an organization in achieving its goals.
Balthazard, P., et al. (2006). Dysfunctional Culture, Dysfunctional Organization: Capturing the Behavioral Norms that Form Organizational Culture and Drive Performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(8), pp.709–732.
Janićijević, N. (2013). The Mutual Impact of Organizational Culture and Structure. Economic Annals, 58(198), 35-60.
Mintzberg, H. (1979). The Structuring of Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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