Organisational Analysis

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About this sample


Words: 3076 |

Pages: 7|

16 min read

Published: Dec 5, 2018

Words: 3076|Pages: 7|16 min read

Published: Dec 5, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Organisational Structure
  2. Types of Organisation
  3. Component of an Organisation
  4. Works Cited

This chapter examines organizational structure with emphasis on Mintzberg’s work and how it applies to the researcher’s organization. In doing this emphasis will be on Minztberg view of the structure, types and power component of organizations. While the second aspect of this chapter will focus on the analysis of organizational culture, how they shape organizations and how the cultures analyzed relate with the researchers organization.

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Organisational Structure

Organizational analysis is the process of reviewing the development, work environment, personnel and operations of the organization. In doing this emphasis is placed on organizational structure and the type of organization and how the organizations systems, capacity and functionality influences outputs. In other words organizational structure can be a big difference in the way it performs. Some companies achieve success through strict controls and systems, but another company that uses such strict control and systems will fail. Thus organizations must figure out what best suit them integrate them to achieve efficiency. Organizations must also review and redesigning their structures on an ongoing basis.

Henry Mintzberg (born September 2, 1939) is a Canadian academic and author on business and management. He has written vastly on management and business strategy. He believed that prestigious management schools have focused too much on numbers and over emphasis on making management a science rather than an art. Thus he suggests that more emphasis should be on post graduate programs that educate practicing managers rather than students with no real world experience by relying upon action learning and insights from their own problem and experiences

Mintzberg (1983) organizational analysis set out to achieve the best way for organization to function by breaking down workplace organizations, management roles and management responsibilities. Find below his analysis of organizations

Types of Organisation

Entrepreneurial Organization: Organizations of this nature are characterized by simple structures, with one large unit. They are most times controlled by the owner or a manager, hence they are flexible and supervision tends to be direct. They lack standardized roles and systems, Examples of these organizations are Small and Medium Enterprises or young companies.

Machine organization: This is a highly structured, standardized and formalized type of organization with clearly defined task of each department and group. It is procedural and decision making is centralized by top managers of the different functional departments. Examples of organizations in this category are large manufacturing companies as well government agencies.

Professional organization: As the name suggests this is the type of organization where you find a lot of professionals who have level of control of their work. Thus the structure is complex, highly regulated, specialized and a decentralized decision making system such that senior executives have less control of their work. Examples are universities and hospitals.

Divisional organizations: Organizations with many product lines and businesses aptly fits into this category. Because of its vast interest in different products and brands across different geographical regions it has very strong autonomous divisions allowing managers have control and make decisions while the headquarters focus on strategic plans and direction of the organization. Example is large multinational companies.

Innovative organization: This is a feature of new and creative industries like film making, consulting and other project based industries. They tend to be highly flexible, draw pool of talents with worker moving from one team to another. In other words decision is decentralized and power is delegated to wherever it’s needed.

Component of an Organisation

According to Mintzberg every organization has six different components

  1. Strategic apex: This is the top management in any organization. Their role is to define the mission of the organization and they set the agenda of how the mission of the organization will be achieved. Chief Executives and Directors belong here.
  2. Operating Core: These are the people who perform the basic work of producing products. They consist of those in operations unit of the organization.
  3. Middle line: Middle management is the link between the strategic apex and operating core by the use of delegated authority. Example is department head who take instructions from the top management and transmit to those in operations. Small organizations may not have this.
  4. Technostructure: Analyst that design system and processes. Example human resource, training, finance and administration. They decide best way to perform jobs and seek to standardize skills. Planners decide on outputs and define quality requirements.
  5. Support Staff: Work in functions such as research and development, public relations and legal service. Their output does not contribute directly to the core purpose of this organization.

Mintzberg went on to identify ways in which task can be coordinated in organizations

  1. Mutual Adjustment: This entails the process of coordination through informal communication between two employees. This mostly happens in small organizations with flexible structures.
  2. Direct supervision: A head issues orders on the task to be carried out and how it should be done.
  3. Standardization of work process: Emphasis is on the work process and how to achieve the target as instructed. The work process is designed by techno structure and the task to be carried out in the operating core.
  4. Standardization of output: This achieves coordination by specifying what the output or end product should be like. For instance marketing department are given annual sales target to meet.
  5. Standardization of skills: This achieves coordination through complementary effort of individuals with related skills. For example a surgeon and an anesthetist in an operating room –responding almost automatically to each other’s standardized procedures.
  6. Stand of norms: This is a situation where coordination is achieved because shared beliefs and norms guide the workings of the organization. Mintzberg organizational analysis is a simple yet elaborate classification of organization based on size, structures, the degree of standardization and specialization. His analysis also points to the relationship between the structure of an organization and the method of coordination that suite it. For example machine organization will have to emphasize the standardization of work process and output to be efficient while the professional organization will emphasis the standardization of skills. It is also important to note that there are organization with more than one identified structure like having both machine and divisional structures.

USAID which is the unit of analysis of this research can be said to be both machine and professional organization. USAID is an organization that is highly procedural and structured with coordination from the top hierarchy which is Administrator in the headquarters down to the mission head and to other divisional heads. However it is also professional as it consists of high number of professionals who they employ to achieve its mission. For example it requires the services of medical professional to help carry out its intervention immunization, malaria, nutrition and family planning services.

Organization culture can be described as a set of norms, beliefs, principles, and ways of behaving that together give each organization a distinctive character. According to (Needle, 2004) organization culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of an organizational members and is a product of such factors as history, product, market, technology, strategy, types of employees management style and national culture; Culture includes organizations vision, values, norms, systems, symbol language, assumptions environment, location, beliefs and habits. Ravasi and Schultz (2006) wrote that organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations. It is also the pattern of such collective behaviors and assumptions that are taught to new organizational members as a way of perceiving and, even, thinking and feeling.

Thus, from the above definitions organizational culture influences the way groups and individuals interact with each other, with clients, and stakeholders. Furthermore organizational culture has the tendency to affect how much employees identify with an organization. Some organizations have very strong culture which is exemplified by the seamless alignment of workers to organization values based on belief and commitment. This is because organizations with strong culture have clear values that give employees a reason to embrace the culture. On the other hand weak culture is where there is little alignment with organization values as such control must be exercised through extensive procedures and bureaucracy.

  • Better alignment of the company towards achieving its mission, vision and goals.
  • High employee motivation and loyalty
  • Cohesiveness among company, departments and divisions
  • Promote consistency and encouraging coordination and control within the company
  • Shaping employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient.

USAID has a strong culture that has evolved over the years and it has helped its employees align itself with the agencies mission. Some of the values that have helped USAID to evolve a strong culture include:

  • Passion for the mission: Employees in USAID have passion and have aligned themselves with the mission of the agency. Employees work in different sectors and continents to promote and advance the agencies mission
  • Excellence: Employees in USAID always seek to improve operations and impact of the mission. They also take pride in their accomplishment.
  • Collaboration: USAID employees are made up people with diverse skills and perspectives. Thus all employees regardless of title or position collaborate to make everyone feel empowered to contribute.
  • Openness: USAID consciously build safe open spaces for honest conversations with employee, partners and stakeholders. This is done to ensure that we get honest feedback on our job.
  • Agility: Dynamic and flexibility are important attribute in responding to the challenges that employee encounter in doing their job
  • Inclusion: The agency advances equality and foster equal opportunities and addresses inequality.
  • Integrity: the agency is ethical and fair with colleagues, partners and building relationship of trust.

Charles Handy, a leading authority on organizational culture, defined four different kinds of culture:

  • Power Culture: Authority by few individuals who take major decisions in the organization without strict rules and regulations. Employees are judged by what they achieve rather than how things are done or how they act. This makes decision quick and such organizations tend to have strong culture.
  • Role: People have clearly delegated authorities within a highly defined structure. It has hierarchical bureaucracy and highly controlled. Everyone knows in the organization know what their roles and responsibilities are.
  • Task: Teams are formed to solve particular problems. Power derives from expertise as long as a team requires expertise. No single power source team may work on own objective
  • People culture: Individuals feel superior to the organization. You find people with similar, background and expertise. This common in firms of professions. Examples are accountants, lawyers with power residing in each individual
  • Handy’s role culture best describe the culture in USAID. This is because it is hierarchical and highly structured. Employees are clear about their roles and the task expected of them. This in my opinion is the best for such a large organization for it to be efficient.

In their classic 1982 book Corporate Culture the rites and rituals of corporate life. They argued that the basis for corporate culture as a result of six interlocking cultural elements such the history, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremony. Others are stories, heroic figures and cultural network. Terrence Deal and Allan Kennedy identified four cultural types of organization. These are:

  • Tough guy/macho: This is good in organizations where emphasis is on individual success rather than the group. It’s a place where individuals work to be stars. As such they enjoy the risk and get quick feedback on their decisions. The sports and entertainment industry are examples of where you find such culture.
  • Work place/play hard: Best for sales where employees take high risk but feedback on how well they perform is immediate. The emphasis is on the team performance because it is believed that one person cannot make the company but it’s the team effort.
  • Bet your company: This culture is one in which decisions are high risk but employees may wait for years before they know whether their actions usually pay off. Examples are pharmaceutical companies, oil and gas and firms that engage in capital intensive projects. Because of the need to the right decisions, values re long term focus and there is collective belief in the need to plan, prepare and perform due diligence at all stages of decision making
  • Process: The feedback is slow and the risk is low. Banks, insurance and government agencies are typical in this group. No single transaction has much impact on the organization success. It takes years to find out whether a decision was good or bad. Because of lack of immediate feedback, employees find it very difficult to measure what they do so they focus instead on how things are done. Technical excellence is valued and attention to process and details right without necessarily measuring the outcome.

Like Handy’s role culture which is a feature of organizations that are highly hierarchical, bureaucratic, with clearly defined roles the process model best describe the structure and system of USAID. It has long term objectives and targets in areas such as ending extreme global poverty and improving wellbeing of vulnerable groups. Since it involves lots of partnership and commitment with different governments and Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs and other stakeholder’s emphasis is on procedure agreed upon by stakeholders.

A metaphor, most broadly, is “the application of a name or descriptive term or phrase to an object or action to which it is imaginatively but not literally applicable” (Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2004). Specifically, metaphor creates meaning by understanding one phenomenon through another in a way that encourages us to understand what is common. Thus the idea that “the organization is a machine” finds machine-like qualities in organization…Metaphor makes meaning in a primal way; its role is not just embellishment (Morgan, 1983, 602). We have come to understand organizations as machines, organisms, brains, cultures, political systems, psychic prisons, instruments of domination, etc. (Llewelyn, 2003).

A metaphor allows an object to be perceived and understood from another” (Alvesson, 1993). Metaphors can invoke a neutral or positive picture of culture or a negative picture of it. The clan metaphor is a family-like or tribe-like type of corporate environment that emphasizes consensus and commonality of goals and values. Ouchi (1980) in her discussion of clan culture describes it as the core values described earlier permeates the company and holds the people together like a clan. People are employed and indoctrinated by training with this culture in mind. On the negative side, there are elements of culture as a sickness (kets de Vries and Miller, 1984) with people obeying managers unquestioningly which they probably will not do in another setting (BSN Course Notes, 2011: 627)

Alvesson (1993) is of the opinion that organizational culture research should focus on how culture relates to “work activities and social relationships” or succinctly, “to socio- material reality” (BSN Course Notes, 2011: 628). Simply put the social side of work requires as much attention as the financial aspect to keep employees motivated. As such working environment like well-furnished offices and flexible working hours are important but understanding how these cultures affects work and social relations will have impact on efficiency and effectiveness.

There are several factors that influence organization culture and how they are shaped. We look at culture as the norm and the way we do things around here. Environmental factors are beyond the control of the organization as such they have little control over them. For example the legal, economic and social structure of a country affects organizations that operate in them. On the other hand internal factors consist of factors like size, leadership, management style, reward structure and the working environment.

Wolf (1982) argued that cultures are best seen as open systems, which continuously interact with other cultures and which are “variously linked with wider social fields”. Alvesson (1993) is of the opinion that it is not the organization itself that primarily defines the mode of change; it is the environment (BSN Course Notes, 2011: 630). In line with this the external factors that shape USAID operations are based on the economic, social and political structure of Nigeria. For instance given that Nigeria is a country with diverse ethnic group USAID is inclusive in its projects and partners such that no one feels disadvantaged by its policies. Furthermore the lack of basic amenities such as schools and healthcare in many countries where USAID operate has fostered that passion in its mission of empowering vulnerable groups and society economically and overall social progress. Finally transparency is important in Nigeria as such USAID ensure that it is transparent and accountable in all its work.

Organization change has become synonymous with management effectiveness. The environment in which any organization operates is constantly changing. To survive, the organization will have to adapt to these changes by continuously changing. The single most important thing organizations need to change is their culture (Peters and Waterman, 1982). The MAOC advocated by (Bate, 1990) and explained by (Kirkbridge, 1993) identifies four possibilities for change.

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  • In the conciliate approach, style of change is soft and bottom-up in direction. Useful when changes that are to be made are not drastic. It is a slow and expensive approach.
  • In the aggressive approach, the style of change is hard and top-down in direction. Emphasis is on clear and unmistakable messages and proponents argue that this approach offers the sole possibility for real change in a crises situation. Major drawback is that it is inflexible
  • In the indoctrination approach, the style of change is soft and top-down in direction. The aim is to influence people’s ideas through training and indoctrination. Major drawback is that dissenters are labeled „disloyal? or worse.
  • In the corrosive approach, style of change is hard and bottom-up and in direction. Aim is to change people?s behavior by giving them new tasks, assignments, responsibilities and positions. Changes in behavior it is believed will engender a change in culture.

Bates (1990) is of the opinion that change happens in episodes or stages rather than by gradual evolution. Each stage requires its own method and a switch from one stage to the other requires a switch from one method to the other. USAID applies the indoctrination approach to drive change, with very little attention given to switching the method as the stages change. MAOC holds considerable promise to better manage change as a good understanding of the different stages will help identify the best method to adopt to drive the process.

Works Cited

  1. Alvesson, M. (1993). Cultural perspectives on organizations. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Handy, C. (1985). Understanding organizations. Penguin Books.
  3. Mintzberg, H. (1983). Structure in 5's: A synthesis of the research on organization design. Management Science, 29(2), 151-170.
  4. Needle, D. (2004). Business in context: An introduction to business and its environment. Thomson Learning.
  5. Ouchi, W. G. (1980). Markets, bureaucracies, and clans. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25(1), 129-141.
  6. Ravasi, D., & Schultz, M. (2006). Responding to organizational identity threats: Exploring the role of organizational culture. Academy of Management Journal, 49(3), 433-458.
  7. Terrence, D. E., & Kennedy, A. A. (1982). Corporate cultures: The rites and rituals of corporate life. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
  8. Wolf, E. (1982). Europe and the people without history. University of California Press.
  9. Canadian Oxford Dictionary. (2004). Oxford University Press.
  10. Llewellyn, S. (2003). The metaphorical organization. Routledge.
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