Mechanistic Organization vs. Organic Organization

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For the most part, mechanistic organization is applied to most all business structures but is predominant in manufacturing while organic organization is best applied to businesses that apply a more open business structure such as online business platforms.

MECHANISTIC ORGANIZATION DEFINITION: According to Black’s Law Dictionary mechanistic organization is “the organization is hierarchical and bureaucratic. It is characterized by its (1) highly centralized authority, (2) formalized procedures and practices, and (3) specialized functions. Mechanistic organization is relatively easier and simpler to organize, but rapid change is very challenging. Contrast to organic organization.”

CHARACTERISTICS: Employees are found to work separately and on their own assigned tasks. There is a definite chain of command and decisions are kept as high up the chain as possible. Communication is a process between managers and supervisors up to executives, there is little daily interaction if any. There are strict company policies or operating standards with an abundance of documentation. This structure is considered the more stable of the two structures.

STRUCTURE: Companies in a mechanistic organization structure typically hold tight control, over processes and employees; with an iron fist so to speak. Rules are implemented and rarely deviated from while there is also a very clear chain of command to delegate responsibilities and power throughout the organization. Again, it is manufacturing companies that are well known for this type of structure but there are other groups that benefit from mechanistic organization; like universities.

ORGANIC ORGANIZATION DEFINITION: According to BusinessDictionary.com, organic organization is characterized by “(1) Flatness: communications and interactions are horizontal, (2) Low specialization: knowledgeresides wherever it is most useful, and (3) Decentralization: great deal of formal and informal participation in decision making.”

CHARACTERISTICS: Employees are often found working in groups and share input on tasks. There are usually teams that handle one task. Communication is open between employees, managers and executives though they are typically just known as ‘the owner’. There is a greater scale of verbal communication between parties. There is also more face-to-face time within the hierarchy of power.

STRUCTURE: Companies in an organic organization structure typically have a more open communication and contribution to tasks at hand. The structure of the business is more adaptable and flexible to changes. The environment is unpredictable but because of the freedom afforded the employees and management it is better maintained. Good examples of this type of structure would be Google and the coveted positions that lie within the Facebook Corporation. Organic organizations have quickly realized that a happy workplace makes for a happy employee.