The conceptual basis of Organizational Structure Theories


A deep and conceptual study of the organizational theories is very helpful in diagnosing and resolving the organizational issues. There have been several organizational theories suggested by the theorists and researchers of organizational behavior. These theories are able to underpin the practices and principles of management, leadership, and organizational culture. To know that how organizational theory underpins the principles and practice of organizing and of management, it's very necessary to study each aspect. In the principles, neither of the philosophy is right or neither of it is wrong. But what do work for one of the organizations may or will may not do work for another. It is in the theory which is the foundation of this meticulous meadow of studies, and its objectives are in order to examine how this organization is actually works. This then provides as much for the clear understandings of the companies' arrangement, its function, and then the properties are which will help to enhance the productivity of the business.

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Organizational behavior implies to human behavior in organizational setting. It is an interface between organization and human behavior. Interface for understanding the organization's behavior by comparing to other organization is also included into Organizational behavior. These three are important for understanding of organizational behavior. Organizational behavior includes the linkage among human behavior for organizational setting, the environment surrounded to the organization, individual organization interface and the organization. These interfaces come to contact with employee, other people, etc in different way.

Organizational Theories and Principles and Practices of Organizing and Management

Scientific Management

This theory of organizational behavior is focused on rationalizing the situation. The human aspect of organization is suppressed in this theory and more scientific approaches are used for the management of work in the organizations. The scientific management theory of organizational behavior can be viewed as a subset of classical theory of organizational behavior. The scientific management theory is more concentrated on the design of jobs whereas the other one is about the organization and its structure. This theory supports the fact that indentifying the best way to do a job will bring significant and effective changes in the productivity of the individual and the organization itself. This theory was proposed when the workers started taking advantage of poor management and the productivity of the organizations started declining. Some characteristics of this theory are: (Agarwal, 1983)

There should be fine differentiation between the roles of each and every worker of an organization. Management roles, planning of jobs, and execution of tasks should be clearly defined to the employees.

The process of selecting the appropriate person for a particular job should be based on scientific methods.

Every worker of an organization should perform a minimum set of jobs. This set of action should preferably be related to a particular task.

Every job should be completed in the best possible way and the monitoring of the job should be the responsibility of management for achieving the desired goal.

According to this theory the wages of workers are the most powerful source for their motivation to increase the productivity of the organization. Unlike the other theories of organizational behavior this theory excludes the other variables that can affect the motivation of employees.

The scientific management theory of organizational behavior was one of the major catalysts of the rapid economic growth of the Europe and North America. But there were also some drawbacks of this concept:

Violent protest and opposition from the worker unions.

Reduced work morale of the workers due to repetitive and boring work.

Restricting the flexibility of work by putting constraint over multitasking of workers. (Brooks)


The bureaucratic theory of organizational behavior was proposed by Max Weber. This mode was viewed as the best and most efficient model for any organization. Most of the complex organizations like government, military and business use this model. In this theory the major focus is on the hierarchical distribution of roles and jobs. Some major characteristics of the theory are;

Every individual in the organization has to perform his fixed set of duties.

There will be hierarchy of authority throughout the organization.

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The organization will be administered by a well defined set of rules.

Decisions in this model are based on more objective and rational approach.

Like every theory and model of organizational behavior this model has its advantages and disadvantages. Some major advantages of this theory are precision of work, speed of doing job, clear view of the organizational structure, and optimum cost of organization. The major disadvantage of this theory is the lack of human factor and high level of rigidity. (David Crowther, 2004)

The Human Relation Approach

This approach to the organizational behavior suggests that the organizations should not be perceived as a mechanic and totally rational entity. Any organization is not only a formal structure govern by a hierarchy of authority but also an informal social system. The ideas of human relationship approach are still having a deep impact on the current organization and management practices. The major results of this theory are:

The workers of organizations found themselves as a group of people.

The group of workers developed their norms of increasing the productivity of the organization and personal relation between each other and the supervisor.

Outputs of the group were not the result of the intelligence or skills of the members but it was related to the social togetherness of the group. (Brooks)

Different Management Approaches

Organizational theory deals with how structures and bureaucracies constrain behavior. If collective bargaining and labor rights constrain the behavior of management and the board of directors, then there is a clear connection between organization development and industrial relations. There are many models that try to understand the way that business organization under globalization controls labor.

Conflict Approaches

From the latter half of the 19th Century, Marxism, anarchism and later, syndicalism, developed as organizational alternatives to laissez faire capitalism. The basic claim was that the very structure of capitalist society, competition and profits worked against labor and hence, led to a constantly confrontational system of industrial relations. The alternative was a revolutionary one, where either the "worker's state," a producer's association or some other labor organization, would actually take over and run the industry of the country. In most of these approaches, the organization of the firm would stay the same, but it would be run by and for labor. (Ricky W. Griffin, 2009)

Market Integration Approaches

The European Union and North America, among many others, are dealing with the organizational fallout from globalization. Since competition has become more intense under a single global market, firms have had to become more "vertical" to act decisively in their own interests. Market and regional integration have forced firms to become more authoritarian as competition increases. This means labor has fewer rights, and, at least in the United States, union membership seems a quaint relic at best, harmful and inefficient at worst. The integration of markets means that there are now billions in the labor poor throughout the world. This can only mean lower wages and less ability to organize. A firm can simply move somewhere else if labor proves too uncooperative.

Dependency Approaches

The Group of 77, G77, sometimes called the "Non-Aligned Movement" was formed to fight against the uneven spread of economic development. An industrialized Europe, Japan and America mean that the rest of the world becomes dependent on the investment, technology and products from these areas. The economies in the "third world" become distorted since they represent the almost endless pool of cheap labor, new markets and raw materials for the dominant powers. Development under this global system becomes systematically and deliberately distorted. The G77, in their 1999 address to the United Nations, demanded greater regional autonomy for the third world. In terms of organization, the basic argument is that development is an integral and holistic universe, taking in labor, family, state, management and ownership. Any serious development of the G77 must organizationally begin from the equality of labor and management in the pluralistic partnership of economic growth. (Ricky W. Griffin, 2009)

Neo-liberal Approaches

Neo-liberalism is another word for western-sponsored laissez-faire development. It derives from the supply side, or the interests of corporations in quickening the pace of local development. In this approach, labor is a commodity like any other, and can compete for jobs based on skill and ability. Wages must be kept low because firms must be competitive in global markets and free trade. Therefore, while the G77 looks at all facets of economics such as labor and social organizations, the "Washington consensus" looks at the interests of the producing units, that is, capital, as the engine of development. (Ricky W. Griffin, 2009)


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The above discussion of the organizational theories and management practices demonstrates that the each organizational behavior theory has its own pros and cons. Different theories are applicable in different scenarios. No theory has a perfect implementation in all the situations. The different management theories used by the organizations are a complement of each other. The human relationship approach is considered to the most effective and efficient approach in the current global scenario.