Organizational Systems: Learning About The Differences In An Organizational Vs Mechanistic Structure

Organizational systems have evolved over time in order to maximally facilitate the performance of people within an organization. 

In fact, the evolution of organizational systems has been fueled by the development of greater need for efficiency and productivity in business operations. Organizations are becoming more specialized with time as the global economy continues to grow. In this regard, organizational functions are evolving toward providing solutions to problems of specific industries or activities. The organizational functions have become more specialized because of the development of different tasks and business activities that were previously left in the hands of individual employees.

Organic Organizational Structures: Humans are the most basic component of organizational structures. 

Therefore, human skill alone cannot develop organizational structures. Organizational systems must be designed and developed based on human interaction. Humans need to be a part of the learning organization in order to gain access to information that will help them understand the organizational structures better and participate in decision making about how the organization should evolve.

Mechanistic Structures: Mechanistic structures are not designed based on the development of individuals but rather on the development of the organization as a whole. 

These structures usually have several levels including the staff level, the board of directors, the management and the other various levels such as the suppliers, customers and employees. Mechanistic structures are also highly decentralized as opposed to the more centralized and highly integrated organizational structures.

Organic structures: Organic organizations are highly customized and are designed based on the relationships between people within an organization. 

People are the main source of information in an organic structure. Organic organizational systems also allow for a high degree of customization through the sharing of responsibility and information. In fact, collaboration is considered a key element in the success of any organizational structure.

The greatest advantage in organizing an organization based on the concept of organic management is the flexibility it offers to the individuals involved. Organic structures can adapt themselves to any changes in the organization. It is also flexible because it allows for the growth and development of the organization depending on the situation and the needs of the people. Organic management also allows for higher levels of staff participation. In most cases, there is a lower rate of hierarchy within the organization than in centralized decision-making processes.

There are some disadvantages that are associated with both mechanistic structure and organic structure. 

In a mechanistic structure, decisions are made by individuals who are empowered with little or no input from those who are actually affected. For instance, in organizations like the armed forces and the police force, rank and file officers have very little say in the way things are done. Likewise, in large-scale businesses, decisions are often made by managers who do not necessarily come from the rank and file. Organizational chaos usually ensues.

Organic organizational systems on the other hand places great emphasis on influencing the interaction between people in the organization through various forms of communication. Thus, it places great emphasis on leadership and the implementation of plans by competent managers. This allows for the emergence of synergies and the coordination of activities in different parts of the organization. Organic structures tend to be highly fluid, allowing for rapid changes to take place within the framework of the structure without drastic alterations.

Mechanistic structure is relatively more rigid and less flexible than organic organizations.

Large-scale organizations like that of the military where the chain of command prevails make use of a central decision-making body, which makes the overall supervision and execution of various activities. Small scale businesses however, may adopt a wide range of decision-making techniques such as feedback, decision reviews, pairing, or collaborative workflows. Organic learning organizations, on the other hand, have a more dynamic input from the team members since they deal with different learning problems everyday. Learning is the primary objective of any learning organization, thus making them a flexible and more dynamic option over a mechanistic structure.

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