The selection of either mechanistic or organic organizational structures is conditional upon their applicability to different environments, and, therefore, these models have nothing in common. Even though they are never met in a pure form, there are no similarities between the work modes corresponding to them regardless of the position of the companies on this scale (Griffin et al., 2016). Thus, the only features allowing for such a comparison belong to the frameworks leaning towards the same organizational structure. For instance, one can contrast “rigid bureaucracy,” “bureaucracy run by the top management team,” and “bureaucracy with cross-departmental meetings, teams, and task forces,” but these types will not be related to the matrix or team-based organizations (Griffin et al., 2016, p. 501). From this perspective, it is feasible to discuss only the differences between the mentioned approaches to managing business activity due to the absence of shared characteristics.
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The elements allowing to distinguish between mechanistic and organic organizational structures are numerous and, therefore, can be examined for clarifying the applicability of these models to various situations. The first parameter serving this purpose is the approach to performing tasks which is general in the former case and more specialized in the latter situation (Griffin et al., 2016). In other words, the organic approach is more flexible and helps timely readjust efforts when needed. The second feature for contrasting these structures is hierarchy since it is clearly determined in mechanistic entities and loosely defined in organic businesses (Griffin et al., 2016). It means that decisions in the former example are centralized compared to the latter organizations, where they are made collectively. The third characteristic is the interactions between managers and employees at different levels more developed in organic companies rather than those of mechanistic nature (Griffin et al., 2016). Thus, the key differences include task performance modes, hierarchical principles, and communication patterns.
Considering the above factors, it is reasonable to suggest that using an organic structure will be appropriate in a rapidly evolving environment in which the expertise of numerous specialists matters. For example, small and medium-sized businesses producing and selling goods will operate more effectively in this case. This conclusion is based on their need to continue monitoring shifts in demand and other market conditions to remain profitable. In contrast to these entities, the suitable organizations of a mechanistic type will be those requiring regularity and clarity of procedures and working under state regulations. They might be healthcare facilities or schools operating for the benefit of society as a whole and facing no unexpected requirements for their activity. Hence, it is feasible to use this organizational structure when the circumstances are stable, and higher profits are necessary.
The identifying characteristics of mechanistic entities, as opposed to organic businesses, will be related to the mentioned environmental conditions. They will incorporate rigid and well-established practices based on scientific evidence. Even though these procedures can be modified over time, the process will be slow and, consequently, more unified in nature compared to other similar organizations in the field under consideration. Also, their main feature will be the orientation on benefitting all population groups instead of targetting specific customer segments as per the organic model. This factor will be complemented by the clarity of requirements for workers and the eligibility of individuals to receive particular services influencing their well-being in general rather than addressing separate needs.
Griffin, W. R., Phillips, J. M., & Gully S. M. (2016). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations (12th ed.). Cengage Learning.