When talking about organizational systems, we are basically talking about the details of the organization which includes its procedures, working methods and its objectives. It is very well known that there are two main classifications of organizational systems, namely, organic and mechanistic. They represent completely different kinds of systems. Manual organization and procedure, which include mainly procedural organization set up and highly technical administrative system. Organizational and mechanistic organizational structures are basically useful tools in the scientific field.
In a manual organization, the topmost level plays the role of manager and all his functions are implemented by other departmental heads under his supervision.
Here every function is closely controlled by the supervisor and the functions are executed according to his instructions. The key functions which are very important in this case include planning, organizing, implementing, controlling, monitoring, and evaluation. On the other hand, in the case of mechanistic and organic organization, the organizational and the mechanical parts come together and they perform their functions together.
All the functional departments are centralized and they form a “conglomerate” system.
The entire organization is run through a series of complex and interconnected processes. Here, all the functional departments work according to a predetermined procedure, which is then followed by a centralized decision-making procedure. The major difference between a centralized decision-making and decentralized one lies in the fact that in centralized decision-making, all the departments participate in the making of important decisions whereas in decentralized one, the decision-making is made centrally by a single department at the top level and then the work is spread out in the various departments.
One of the most important characteristics of mechanistic organization is its rigid division of labor.
Each department performs a job specialty. In this case, it is evident that when there is division of labor, each department performs a specialized task, which proves beneficial to the overall productivity of the organization. However, in the organic structure of the organization, there is no difference in the functioning of the departments, but the entire organization is made up of a series of overlapping and modified jobs that are performed by various specialized people.
Another important characteristic of mechanistic and organic organizations is the factor of learning organization.
A learning organization is specially created and built for imparting learning, teaching, and learning activities to the employees of an organization. This means that the employees learn directly from the instructors. Though these organizational structures may have a few disadvantages such as short duration of training sessions and less personal interaction between the instructor and the employee, they have several advantages.
The major advantage of mechanistic structures is that they have less personal interaction between the employees and the instructors, and their duration of training is relatively shorter than that of the organic organizations. The duration of learning may be as little as one week, whereas in organic structures it may take years. Moreover, the scope of application of the knowledge imparted by the instructors and the students is also relatively smaller inorganic structures than that of mechanistic ones. Lastly, in the case of organic structures the existence of any problem arises in the immediate future, whereas in mechanistic ones the problem arises only when the system or equipment fails.
Still on the topic of specialization, both these types of organization structures provide the employees with certain exclusive advantages. Organic organizations give more personalized attention to the employees. Since the main aim of an organic unit is to ensure maximum participation of every employee in his work, the level of satisfaction is relatively high and this ultimately leads to the overall success of the enterprise. On the other hand, in the case of specialization, the enterprise is serving a particular customer segment, hence the employees feel less specialization and more involvement in their work.
Though these two types of organizational structures have their own advantages, they have also been criticized by some contemporary researchers as being highly unemotional.
This view is strongly colored by the influence of Weber’s and Bentler’s social structure theory. Since social structure and emotional attachment are strongly correlated in human behavior, these two concepts play an important role in defining the organization as well as its members. Nevertheless, despite the reservations of many modern researchers, the organization has managed to survive over the years, especially in the context of service sectors like hospitals and restaurants. The fact that these two organizational forms possess both a mechanical and an organic character, respectively, underlines the fact that it is extremely adaptive. Thus, it can be concluded that both mechanical and organic organizations are highly adaptable in nature.