There are different structures that determine how organizations plan and execute activities to achieve their objectives. The major elements of an organizational structure include work specialization, the chain of command, departmentalization, the span of control, and authority (Lumenlearning, n.d). These elements are necessary for the coordination of activities within an institution. The type of organizational structure significantly determines the organization’s performance and ability to adapt to changes in the business environment. Some of the major types of structures include mechanistic and organic structures. This paper aims to analyze how these structures differ and their ability to adapt to changes in the business environment.
Mechanistic organizational structure refers to the system of an organization whose authority is centralized. Organizations with mechanistic structures have fixed departments with specialized roles independent from each other (Bhasin, 2020). This structure is formal and involves a chain of commands where decisions originate from the top of the hierarchy and flow from one managerial level to another until they reach the ordinary employee. Mechanistic organization structures are either triangular or in pyramid form, where the higher the position in the hierarchy, the more the authority. These levels are meant to guide the management in the efficient execution of the organization’s basic operations. Various institutions use this form of structure. They include financial institutions, healthcare facilities, education institutions, government bodies, and law institutions.
Organic organizational structure is more flexible with a free flow of communication than the mechanistic model. The form of authority in the organic system is decentralized, where all employees play a significant role in the decision-making process. Unlike the mechanistic structure, the organic design is flat, with the flow of information majorly diagonal rather than vertical. The employees in this organization work closely and collaboratively to enhance cohesion and teamwork (Bhasin, 2020). Departments and the various managerial levels also work closely with no restrictions on their roles. Google and Amazon are among the many organizations that use organic structure to coordinate and manage their operations. Consulting firms that need close discussions on the issues affecting the customers are also familiar with organic organizational formation.
There are several differences between mechanistic and organic organizational structures. Firstly, the mechanistic organizational structure has a centralized authority where orders originate from the senior-most position and flow downwards to the lowest position (Bhasin, 2020). On the contrary, the organic structure involves a decentralized system of authority where the role of making decisions is shared among all the levels of management. Information from this structure can flow from any direction. Secondly, in a mechanistic organizational structure, different departments are assigned with distinct roles. These segments work independently to achieve their objectives. This is not the case with departments in the organic organizational structure. In an organic system, the different departments work harmoniously to achieve a common objective that the organization sets.
Thirdly, in mechanistic organizations, the organization’s success is based on the individual performance of the employees (Bhasin, 2020). Therefore, employees tend to have individual goals that they strive to achieve for the organization’s overall performance. For organic structure, the organization’s performance is based on teamwork and collaboration of the entire workforce. Lastly, the mechanistic organizational structure involves high specialization of work within the workforce such that employees are assigned only one task. On the contrary, the employees are flexible in an organic structure and can be assigned different tasks executed collaboratively.
The business environment is often subject to changes influenced by various factors. These changes affect organizations differently based on their structure. Organizations with stable and flexible structures tend to have a greater ability to adapt to environmental changes than organizations with unstable and rigid structures. Mechanistic and organic organization structures have different abilities to adapt to environmental changes. For instance, based on their flexibility, organic organizations adapt more easily to environmental changes than mechanistic organizations (Tanujaa, 2020). Mechanistic organizational structure is restricted to the rules and policies defining the organization. This makes it difficult to respond to changes that may be affecting some of its departments. For instance, due to the inability to multitask, introducing a new operation in the organization caused by environmental changes will require the organization to hire new staff and set up a new department for that task. This may take a significant amount of time before the newly set department functions effectively. Conversely, an organic organization structure may allow new operations to be integrated into the already existing departments due to the flexibility and ability of its employees to multitask.
The Current Environment
The local and global markets have been experiencing rapid technology advancement that has significantly influenced the way organizations operate. Different organizations are utilizing technology to improve their operations’ quality and save on operational time and costs (Cherunilam, 2021). This has increased competition among organizations where they strive to understand the market dynamics and use technology to outdo each other. Technology is ever-changing, with new versions emerging frequently. Therefore, organizations are struggling to have the latest technology to reduce competition. This requires organizations to be more flexible and easily adopt new technology as they emerge (Cherunilam, 2021). I, therefore, see the current markets heading more to technological advancement where organic organizations will be easily successful because of their flexibility to keep up with changes.
Turbulence of Hyper-Change and Hyper-Competition
Organizations may use various means to disrupt their competitors and displace their competitive advantage in the market. Hyper competition tactics revolve around pricing, quality of products and services, and other factors that attract customers (Lindskov et al., 2021). For instance, an organization may decide to lower the price of its goods or services compared to its rival in the market to attract more customers. Hyper change involves how quickly an organization can adapt to the changes in the environment (Lindskov et al., 2021). The turbulence of hyper-change and hyper-competition is likely to overwhelm inflexible organizations, such as mechanistic organizations. The organic organizational structure is flexible and is likely to allow easier adaption of changes because of the easier flow of information from one department to another and the ability of the workforce to multitask. Mechanistic organizations tend to have strict procedures and policies that require time to accommodate changes. Mechanistic organizations have struggled to implement changes caused by rapidly changing factors such as technology. On the other hand, organic organizations have effectively implemented these changes making them more competitive.
Best Application to the Current Environment
I feel the organic organizational structure is more applicable in the current local and global environment because it is more flexible and can accommodate the emerging trends than the mechanistic structure. The current environment is based on the ability of an organization to create a friendly environment for its employees to perform efficiently. In a mechanistic environment, employee welfare is not prioritized, affecting their overall performance. It also limits the workforce’s creativity because the employees are only restricted to one role. This makes the organic structure the ideal structure to thrive locally and globally in the current environment due to the rapid changes brought by technology.
Bhasin, H. (2020). Mechanistic vs Organic Organization. Marketing91.
Cherunilam, F. (2021). Business environment. Himalaya Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.
Lindskov, A., Sund, K. J., & Dreyer, J. K. (2021). The search for hypercompetition: Evidence from a Nordic market study. Industry and Innovation, 28(9), 1099-1128.
Organic versus Mechanistic Models | Organizational Behavior and Human Relations. Courses.lumenlearning.com.
Tanujaa (2020). Difference between Mechanistic and Organic Organisation Structure. Essays, Research Papers and Articles on Business Management.