Mechanistic Organizational Structure – Definition and Features

The structure of any organization has a clear impact on both employee behavior and its performance. On the other hand, an organizational structure provides an overview about the hierarchy of levels, roles and responsibilities, authorities, communication channels, etc. It is of utmost importance to understand the definition of the organizational structure since it affects both employee behavior and organizational performance. Organizational structure is understood as a method consisting of responsibilities and power allocated amongst members and how work procedures are carried out among them. It also includes the layers of hierarchy, centralization of authority, and horizontal integration. However, an organizational structure is a multi-dimensional construct which illustrates the division of work (roles or responsibilities including specification), departmentalization, centralization, complexity, communication or coordination mechanisms including standardization, formalization and flexibility. An important type of organizational structure can be identified as mechanistic organizational structure.

Mechanistic organizational structure is hierarchical and bureaucratic by nature. It’s structure, processes and roles are considered as a machine where each part of the organization does what it is intended to do. Three main features could be identified. Namely highly centralized authority, formalized procedures and practices & specialized functions. Thus, a mechanistic organizational structure has a clear, well-defined, centralized, vertical hierarchy of command, authority, and control. It achieves efficiency and predictability through specialization, standardization, and formalization. Rigidly defined jobs, technologies, and processes are outcomes of such mechanical organizational structure. Mechanistic structure aims to achieve efficiency thorough tight control.

Characteristics for mechanistic organizational structure are listed below:

  1. Stable environment: This organizational structure works best when the environment is relatively stable.
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Guidance in Management

The Concept of Guidance

Guidance in management can be defined as: – “The act or process of guiding” or “The one who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising. “ or “The one who serves as a model for others, as in a course of conduct.”

Good manager guide their employees to continually learn new skills and work toward organizational goals, while being sensitive to their needs. This kind of guidance gives employees a vested interest in their organization, which will affect the quality of their work. The good manager is a leader, not an order giver.

When a manager tells an employee what he want done, instead of giving an order, the manager give their employees the freedom to come up with their best way of getting that task done. It may not always be the best way, and the manager may have to do some monitoring and guiding, but there is also the chance that they will come up with something better than what the manager has planned.

When an employee is given an instruction, they have to think. They have to think of ways to get the job done. They have to decide which is the best way. They have to invest a little of themselves in the solution.

Also, when a manager give an employee an instruction, and lets his employees decide for themselves the best way to accomplish the task, they are more likely to get their buy-in and support. If they have made the decision about the best way to accomplish the task they are more likely to believe it is correct and valuable.… Read the rest

The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure in Organizations

A bureaucracy is a form of organisation based on logic, order, and the legitimate use of formal authority. Bureaucracies are meant to be orderly, fair, and highly efficient. Max Weber, a German theorist, was the first person to introduce many of the concepts of bureaucracy. During the 18th and 19th century period many employees worked only for themselves and in a workplace environment that was primarily focused on getting the job done in whichever way possible unconcerned with efficiency. Weber’s idea was to use regulation by rules, policies, supervision, reward systems and other mechanisms to make sure that the behavior and standards of the employees are always met and making the contemporary workplace more organized. The six key principles of bureaucracy that Weber identified were; division of work, hierarchy, promotions, record-keeping, business as a separate legal entity and rules and regulations.

Many businesses today have benefited from Weber’s work. Division of work in a workplace has been a fundamental characteristic of an organisation’s structure. Division of work is the process of dividing labor into clear definitions of authority and responsibilities that are legitimized as official duties. Departmentalization works on a basis that groups individuals into departments and these departments into the total organisation. This principle gives rise to specialists who are in charge of a very specific function of a particular department. These specialists are extremely educated and well trained, which increases the strength of the business allowing the senior management more control and certainly more effectiveness. This type of division has a number of benefits.… Read the rest

Delegation – The future of People Management

Many managers or team leaders feel quite threatened by the whole concept of delegation – after all they may have taken some time to reach their current position, so why should they start to give their much coveted job away?

Benefits of effective Delegation

Benefits to the organization:

  • Optimum use of staff resources
  • Tasks performed at the cheapest rate consistent with quality
  • Wider ownership of company mission and objectives
  • Reduce vulnerability to unexpected absences

Benefits to the manager:

  • Free time for more vital tasks
  • Develops staff for wider role
  • Increased staff motivation
  • Spreads the ownership of achieving departmental objectives

Benefits to the individual:

  • Develops increased skills or knowledge
  • Motivation
  • Shows wider view of the company
  • Builds trust and confidence

Trying to decide what to delegate is made easier if we first of all decide which tasks should not be delegated.

Things to consider when deciding what to delegate:
  • Ruthlessly analyse your abilities and the limits of your time, so that you can identify what can best be delegated.
  • By delegating, leave yourself free to do the work that only you can do.
  • Re-examine the tasks you find particularly easy – it may be appropriate to delegate these as well as the tasks you don’t want to do
  • Don’t delegate exceptional tasks, such as tasks only you can do in time or to the required standard
  • Don’t delegate tasks involving confidentiality or particularly sensitive info
  • Use the delegation of important tasks to enrich the team member’s task, improve performance and raise morale.
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Organization Structure – Definition, Determinants, Importance and Types

An organization structure is a set of planned relationships between groups of related functions and between physical factors and personnel required for the performance of the functions. The organization structure is generally shown on the organisation chart. It shows authority and responsibility between various positions in the enterprises by showing who reports to whom. Organization structure lays down the pattern of communication and coordination in the enterprises.

Though organization structure is very important, it is not an end in itself. According to Peter F. Drucker, “Organisation is not an end itself, but a means to end of business performances and business results. Organization structure is an indispensable means; and the wrong structure will seriously impair business performance and may even destroy it. Organization structure must be designed so as to make possible the attainment of the objectives of the business for five, ten, fifteen years hence.”

Organizing Function of Management

Organizing is a process by which management coordinates the activities of the group of persons for the achievement of certain predetermined goals. Through organizing, the duties of various members of the group are determined and assigned and responsibilities fixed so that the necessary work is performed with speed, accuracy and economy. The process of organizing involves the following steps:

  1. Determination of Objective:- This is the first step in organizing because organizing without any purpose or objective has no meaning. The purpose of the organisation must be identified. This will help in answering the questions like why the proposed organisation is to be set and what will be the nature of work to be accomplished.
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Learning Curve in an Organizational Context

A highly useful learning concept which is valid for a wide range of situation is the organizational learning curve, a diagrammatic presentation of the amount learned in relation to time. A typical learning curve will show on the Y-axis the amount learnt and the X-axis the passage of time.

Characteristics of the Organizational Learning Curve

Certain characteristics are common to all learning curves. One such feature is the initial spurt. At the beginning, it is natural that the rate of learning exhibits spurt. Usually, the graph levels off at some stage, indicating that maximum performance has been achieved. Apparently at the beginning of the learning process, the subject is highly motivated and seems to exhibit a significant surge of effort. Many experienced trainers exploit this initial spurt by selecting the most important items to be communicated and presenting them as a package to the students at the beginning of the training unit. In many ways, it is possible to exemplify the initial spurt with the aphorism “the first step is the best step”

Another feature of the organizational learning curve is the learning plateau. At some point in the learning process there is a flattening off in terms of the improvement, a plateau. Frequently, the process of learning is marked by discontinuities and involves escalating from one plateau to another. Most learners are only too aware of the experience of finding themselves on a plateau, which manifests itself in the feeling that they are never going to get anywhere.… Read the rest