The current golden rule of life is living in an organizational world. The biggest tendency among human beings is to keep changing as per need and desire. This is the most common mode of development amongst we individuals. Change is truly considered as a quick movement towards enhancement and creativity. Ours is a self organizing world. Life changes every second. One needs to understand and effectively respond to the changes brought by nature or introduced by humans. (“Lawley J. “, 1) The most evident example is the way the world came into existence. Life has been changing as a community and we all have been actively responding to it by changing ourselves according to the circumstances. Thus we live in an organizational world which is full of creativity and new changes for all.
Explain the relationship between organizational design and organizational structure, using a concrete example derived from your own experience or imagination.
A: Organizational Structure is defined as, “The framework, typically hierarchical, within which an organization arranges
its lines of authority and communications, and allocates rights and duties.” (“K. Cheung Y.”, 3)The study of organizational structure helps to develop an understanding of the working norms of the organization along with the existing hierarchies. The organizational structure is bound to change from time to time as it is influenced by various factors like organizational culture and design. It can also be said that these fields are interdependent and tend to play a dominant role in constantly influencing each other.
Organizational design can be defined as the “the process of reshaping organization structure and roles, or it can more effectively be defined as the alignment of structure, process, rewards, metrics and talent with the strategy of the business.” (“H. Yousefi M”, 2)
As the definition states organizational design has ability to influence and impact the organizational structure as it involves the process of decision making in terms of the working of the organization and several other such strategic decisions.
For instance, an organization at the time of recession decides to lay-off its employees for better economic stability in the organization when the production is low and any marginal cost involved might increase the losses to the organization. This is seen as a change in the organizational design, which influences the hierarchies in the organization and the various roles that employees play across these varying hierarchical structures. As the employees who are made to leave the organization their roles are left vacant in the hierarchy making it essential for other members to fill up for the same. This means that the roles and hierarchies along with the working environment in the organization turn topsy-turvy. However, as time progresses the organization stabilizes and the employees adapt to the new roles assigned to them thereby creating a new organizational structure based on the organizational changes.
To what extent is the machine metaphor relevant to explain design, structure and management practices in contemporary organizations?
Illustrate with an example.
A: The study of organizational structure and design is often done using several metaphors and one such consistently used basic metaphor is that of the machine, where the functioning of an organization is compared to a machine.
Metaphors are essentially used to sum up and derive the various components in an organization like the design culture, leadership, structure.
According to Morgan, George Lakoff and philosopher Mark Johnson who have been striving to emphasis on the pervasiveness and fundamental nature of metaphor state that, human beings in their everyday activity invariably make use of metaphors and this makes the theory applicable even to the study of organizations. Gareth Morgan says, "One of the most basic problems of modern management is that the mechanical way of thinking is so ingrained in our everyday conception of organizations that it is often difficult to organize in any other way.” (“Venkat”, 3)
The study of organizational design and structure basing on these metaphors is a highly applicable as each of these popular metaphors has a significance of its own for instance the machine metaphor according to the Archetypical Metaphors for Organizations signifies, “Efficiency, waste, maintenance, order, clockwork, cogs in a wheel, programs, inputs and outputs, standardization, production, measurement and control, design.”
This metaphor can therefore be understood as a tool that helps the individuals understand the organizational structure and design based on the efficiency of the management, ability to produce output effectively etc.
However, the understanding of the organizational structure and design along with the behavior of individuals in the given organizational setup would be effective only when these metaphors are used in combination with the various organizational theories.
The functioning of McDonalds and other similar food joints, which operate internationally, can be taken as an example for the machine metaphor as they produce consistent products and services all through the year with no possibility of an innovation. This is similar to the working of machines as they cannot be innovated but only can be maintained and repaired from time to time.
To what extent is the organic metaphor useful to explain design, structure and management practices in contemporary organizations?
Illustrate with an example.
A: Metaphors are fundamental and complex elements that are used to explain the various concepts of life and other everyday activity. The concepts of organizations are also understood using several such metaphors like machines, organisms, cultures etc. The metaphor of organism in the study of organization is used to study the design, structure and management practices across the organizations. The organism metaphor, according to the Archetypical Metaphors for Organizations signifies, “living systems, environmental conditions, adaption, life cycles, recycling needs, homeostasis, evolution, survival of the fittest, health, illness, etc. (“McCrimmon M.”, 9)
This metaphor is considered livelier in terms of its description on organizations as it tends to study the organization, its design, structure and culture from its inception by understanding the various factors that contribute to the same.
The organizations that operate on this metaphor are considered more lively and receptive, as there is a possibility of feedback in these organizations. This receptive nature is synonymous of organisms however the drawback of this approach is considered from the fact that there is no one determining factor in the growth and development of these organizations just like the organisms that are influenced by various factors.
The management and structure in these organizations are essentially more flexible and easily adaptable to chances in the business environment. A change in the business environment tends to immediately bring about a change in the working of the organization by influencing the structure of the management, as there is little to no control of any independent authority in these organizations. This metaphor however cannot be applicable individually and is more often used in combination with the machine metaphor.
What is the relationship between design, structure and organizational culture?
Illustrate with an example.
A: Organizational culture is the value system by which the organization functions and has a strong influence on the way people perceive their work and interact within the organization as it determines the attitude of the management and the employees towards one another according to Robbins & Coulter, organizational culture is the “shared values, beliefs, or perceptions held by employees within an organization or organizational unit.” Edgar Schein defined the same as, “a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group has learned as it solved its problems that has worked well enough to be considered as valid and is passed on to the new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to these problems.”
Organizations culture, structure and design can be considered as interrelated concepts. Organizational structure can be defined as, “the formal system of task and reporting relationships that controls, coordinates, and motivates employees so that they cooperate to achieve the organization’s goals.” (“Organizational Culture”, 4)
The relationship between both these concepts can be considered as the lines of authority, the system has set into place through which individuals can come together to fulfill the expectations of organizational culture. It is important to understand the relationship as it tends to understand the full extent of responsibilities of the employees in relation to their work.
Therefore it can be concluded that a weak organizational culture is likely to effect the organizational structure and design negatively and vice-versa.
The interdependence of these various factor can be understood by studying the following example. Imagine a certain sport, for instance basketball as the organizational culture, in this context the various players and the coach from the organizational structure with all their inbuilt hierarchies. The way in which these people work within the framework of these hierarchies in their attempt to fit into the organizational culture is known as the organizational design. (“P. Cornelissen J.”, 7)
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