My research is based on the work done by theorists T. Burns and G.M. Stalker (1961). The theorists argue that organizations need different kinds of structure to control their activities that will allow the company to adapt and react to changes and uncertainties in their environment.
Changes in environment can be analyzed through a pestel analysis, where changes in the factors found in the pestel analysis may either stabilize or destabilize the environment of a given company.
Companies facing a dynamic and uncertain environment may have to develop or maintain an organic organizational structure, whereas companies operating in a stable environment may benefit from developing or maintaining a mechanism organizational structure.
The reason behind this is that organic structures can process and distribute information and knowledge faster within the organization, which then results in an increased ability to respond or react to changes in the environment.
However, mechanistic structures may act as an effective and efficient organizational structure for companies operating in a more stable and certain environment. Companies operating in a stable environment may not need to make decisions quickly. Likewise, many of the day-to-day decisions and operating procedures may be formalized and centralized, because there is no inherent need for constant change or innovation.
Organizational structure can inhibit or foster creativity and innovation. The problem with organizational structure, however is that it is resultant of many factors including history, organic growth, strategy, operational design, product diversity, logistics, marketing, client base, supplier base and so on.
Therefore, what managers need, are not recipes for complete structural change, but insights into the properties of fostering structures that can be adapted into the existing structure.
In our case of investigating Mechanic and Organic structures, Mechanic structures include centralized control and authority, clearly defined tasks, vertical communication links, obedience to supervisors , rigidity and inflexibility. Organic structures, which are more generally preferred, focus on decentralisation of authority, loosely defined, horizontal communications, greater individual authority, flexible and acceptable.
Mechanistic and organic structures are two possibilities at opposite ends of the organizational spectrum. They give shape to the concept of the factors of organizational structure. A mechanistic organization is characterized by the following structural factors:
- Degree of work specialization is high
- Departmentalization is rigid
- Managerial hierarchy has many layers
- Span of control is narrow
- Decision making is centralized
- Chain of command is long
- Organizational structure is very tall
While an organic organization is characterized by the following factors:
- Degree of work specialization is low
- Departmentalization is loose
- Managerial hierarchy has few layers
- Span of control is wide
- Decision making is decentralized
- Chain of command is short
- Organizational structure is flat
Organic Organizational Design
Mechanistic & Organic System
Organic Structure Theory