Mechanistic and Organic Structures

In: Business and Management

Within every company there must be a framework; this framework can be referred to as an Organizational structure. This helps a company distinguish power and authority, roles and responsibilities, and the manner in which information flows through the organization. There are two basic forms of organizational structure or designs mechanistic and organic structures.

Mechanistic structure is characterized by extensive departmentalization, high formulization, limited information network and centralization. (Robbins and Judge 2009) The term mechanistic suggests that organizational structures, processes, and roles are like a machine in which each part of the organization does what it is designed to do. An organization that uses a mechanistic structure is likely to have the some of the following attributes, such as clear specified tasks, precise definitions of the rights and obligations of members or clearly defined line and staff positions with formal relationships between the two. Conversely (Burns and Stalker1961) defined the organic organizational form as characterized by a lack of formally defined tasks and an emphasis on horizontal as opposed to vertical coordination, which has become the exemplar structure for firms operating in unsettled environments. The term "organic" suggests that organizations change their structures, roles, and processes to respond and adapt to their environments. Organic structures are appropriate in unstable, turbulent, unpredictable environments and for non-routine tasks and technologies. For organizations coping with such uncertainty, finding appropriate, effective, and timely responses to environmental challenges is of critical importance.

Mechanistic structures are identified by individual specialization; this is where employees work separately and specialized in one task. A great example of individual specialization is the Ford...

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