The Organizational Structure Of A Piece Of Music Is Its Leadership – Mechanistic and Organic Organizational Structures

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Leadership – Mechanistic and Organic Organizational Structures

Organizations are defined by McShane and Von Glinow as “groups of people working interdependently toward a common goal” (McShane and Von Glinow, 2012, p.5). In order for these groups of people to successfully achieve common goals and objectives, there must be some degree of strategic coordination between them that will facilitate effective and efficient collaboration. This necessary coordination reflects organizational structure, which can be broadly classified as mechanical or organic (McShane and Von Glinow, 2012).

Mechanical and organic structural properties

The mechanical structure is characterized by a narrow control frame that indicates a tall, vertical structure with multiple hierarchical layers. Power in a mechanistic structure is concentrated at the top of the organization. They usually have a lot of standardization, rules and regulations, and a high degree of formality. The flow of communication is like a vertical structure rather than a horizontal one. Organic structures are just the opposite. It has a wide range of controls, making the structure horizontal and flat.

Decision making is decentralized in the organization. Instead of standardization, organic structures are more informal, flexible, and have more horizontal communication flows (McShane and Von Glinow, 2012).

Choosing the best organizational structure

Every organization needs two types of structure to some extent. It is the dynamics of the internal and external environment of the organization that determine the level of mechanistic or organic characteristics that are most appropriate for any stage of the organization’s life. Most organizations start out very simple and become increasingly complex as they grow. A small number of customers, employees, and product lines creates a relatively stable environment in which mechanical structures work best.

Stability is an opportune time to standardize operations and establish rules and operational policies that form the foundation of the organization’s operations. With fewer employees, spans of control can be narrower and higher, allowing for closer supervision while moving employees to more specialized roles during these critical start-up periods, which can last several years. This more hierarchical structure facilitates centralized decision-making, which is ideal as organizations develop cultures and position themselves within their respective industries.

As organizations expand, Daft and Marcic (2011) identify two major changes that create the need for a more organic structure. The first case is the result of an increase in the customer base, the range of products and/or the number of services offered, which means that the organization must hire more employees. Increasing customer demand requires more specialized customer service, which means more departments. New departments will need to create new roles within these departments. New product lines will create a need for greater awareness of the environmental and regulatory issues associated with those products. All these new challenges may require the modification of standardized procedures to meet new requirements, further disrupting the carefully planned procedures and policies of mechanical structures (Daft and Marcic, 2011).

Organizational growth is often characterized by rapid change, which creates the need for greater organization-wide coordination. This arrangement reflects the quality of collaboration between staff and departments, which allows for a flatter organizational structure that is consistent with the organic structure. This means organizing with teams and networks of people and increasing the capacity of horizontal communication, which supports the exchange of information, which allows subordinates to make quality and quick decisions in a fast-moving environment. This does not completely eliminate the need for vertical dimensions, but it creates the need for horizontal dimensions (Daft and Marcic, 2011).

How the two structures work together

National American University (NAU) is a great example of why organizations need both vertical and horizontal dimensions. Their verticals consist of the board of directors and those who oversee the organization’s executive functions and report to shareholders. This dimension covers operational departments responsible for environmental elements such as federal regulations. As the University has physical and virtual facilities, it must comply with Internet security rules as well as state and local regulations. These are all the fields covered by the vertical sphere of its structure. Its horizontal dimension is more suited to its ability to provide personalized service to its students and staff. Managing the financial and academic needs of students and staff requires high-quality interdepartmental collaboration.

Conclusion

Organizations prefer one structure over the other, but both mechanical and organic structures are necessary for the organization to achieve its goals. As organizations evolve and change in response to rapidly changing environmental factors, they must be able to adapt their structure to the changing environment. Adaptation may require expanding their span of control to increase the quality of cooperation; This may involve reducing the level of formalization by eliminating or changing established policies, procedures and other routine practices that no longer work in a more complex environment; may include empowering incumbents through a willingness to openly share information and authority.

Reference

Daft, RL, Marcic D. (2011). Concepts of Management 7th ed. West-South Cengage training. Mason, OH 45040.

McShane, SL, Von Glinow, MA (2012). Organizational behavior. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. New York, NY. 10020

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