Universal perspectives of Organizational Design

Organization Design is a formal, guided process for integrating the people, information and technology of an organization. It is used to match the form of the organization as closely as possible to the purpose(s) the organization seeks to achieve.

Universal Perspectives

The Bureaucratic Model

Max Weber, a German sociologist, conceptualized the idea of bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is a form of organizational structure in which people can be held fully accountable for their actions because they are required to act in accordance with well-specified and agreed-upon rules and standard operating procedures. Basic Elements of the Bureaucratic Structure are:

  • formal rules and behavior bounded by rules
  • uniformity of operations continuity despite changes in personnel
  • functional division of labor based on functional specialization
  • rational allocation of tasks
  • impersonal orientation
  • membership constitutes a career
  • promotion based on technical competence
  • limited discretion of officers
  • specific sphere of competence
  • legally based tenure
  • employment based on merit-no ascribed status
  • qualifications tested
  • proscribed authority-legally defined

The Behavioural Model

This model has evolved from the Human Relations School of management thought. In this model the performance of an organization is believed to depend on human beings, their behaviour, characteristics and their mutual relationships emerging from work patterns and organizational settings. The important factors which play significant roles are needs, motivations, attitudes, values, leadership, group behaviour, perceptions, communications, responsibility and authority relationship, etc. In other words, the behavioural models of organization design reflect the social and psychological implications of organizational life. The most popular behavioural models of organization design— the socio-technical systems theory and Likert’s System 4 Organization.

Contingency Approach

The contingency approach to organizational design tailors organizational structure to the sources of uncertainty facing an organization. The structure is designed to respond to various contingencies- things that might happen and therefore must be planned.

According to Contingency Theory, the structure of an organization depends on the circumstances at any given time. The key contingency variables addressed in the literature include:

  • strategy
  • ability to adapt to the environment
  • technology and
  • size