The formal configuration between individuals and groups with respect to the allocation of tasks, responsibilities, and authorities within organisations.
hierarchy of authority
The distinction between members of organizations with respect to the degree of authority they have; higher positions in an organization chart reflect higher degrees of formal authority.
The process of redesigning organizations so as to reduce the number of employees required to meet its objectives (also known as rightsizing).
span of control
The number of subordinates in an organization who are supervised by managers.
division of labor
The practice of dividing work into specialized tasks that enable people to specialize in what they do best.
Positions in an organization in which people can make decisions related to doing basic work.
Positions in organizations in which people make recommendations to others, but are not themselves involved in making decisions concerning the organization's day-to-day operations.
The extent to which authority and decision making are spread throughout all levels of an organization rather than being reserved for top management (centralization).
The tendency for just a few powerful individuals or groups to hold most of the decision-making power.
The process of breaking up organizations into coherent units.
The type of departmentalization based on the activities or functions performed (e.g., sales, finance).
The type of departmentalization based on the products (or product lines) produced.
The type of organization in which a product or project form is superimposed on a functional form.
The process of coordinating the structural elements of organizations in the most appropriate manner.
classical organizational theory
An early approach to the study of management that focused on the most efficient way to design organizations.
neoclassical organizational theory
An attempt to improve upon the classical organizational theory, claiming that economic effectiveness is not the only goal of organizational structure, but also employee satisfaction.
contingency approach to organizational design
The contemporary approach that recognizes that no one approach to organizational design is best, but that the best design is the one that best fits with the existing environmental conditions.
An internal organizational structure that is stable in nature, where people perform jobs that do not change much over the years.
An internal organizational structure that changes frequently, making it likely that people will have to alter the nature of the jobs they perform over the years.
In Mintzberg's framework, employees who perform the basic work related to an organization’s product or service.
In Mintzberg's framework, top-level executives responsible for running an entire organization.
In Mintzberg's framework, managers who transfer information between the strategic apex and the operating core. (See strategic apex and operating core.)
In Mintzberg's framework, organizational specialists responsible for standardizing various aspects of an organization's activities.
In Mintzberg's framework, individuals who provide indirect support services to an organization.
An organization characterized as being small and informal, with a single powerful individual, often the founding entrepreneur, who is in charge of everything.
An organizational form in which work is highly specialized, decision making is concentrated at the top, and the work environment is not prone to change (e.g., a government office).
Organizations (e.g., hospitals and universities) in which there are lots of rules to follow, but employees are highly skilled and free to make decisions on their own.
The form used by many large organizations, in which separate autonomous units are created to deal with entire product lines, freeing top management to focus on larger scale, strategic decisions.
A highly informal, organic organization in which specialists work in teams, coordinating with each other on various projects (e.g., many software development companies).
The practice in which companies own their own suppliers and/or their own customers who purchase their products from them.
Organizations in which autonomous work teams are organized in parallel fashion such that each performs many different steps in the work process.
Particular objectives a company has for the future and how it plans to focus its business activities so as to create and sustain value.
Different ways of governing how things get done in an organization.
Designs that concentrate on the arrangement of units within one organization.
Plans by which two or more organizations come together.
An organization in which chains of command are eliminated, spans of control are unlimited, and rigid departments give way to empowered teams.
modular (networked) organizations
Businesses that outsource noncore functions to other companies while focusing on their own core business.
Organizations composed of a continually evolving network of companies linked together to share skills, costs, and access to markets. They form a partnership to capitalize on their existing talents, pursuing common objectives.
A form of organizational diversification in which an organization (usually a very large, multinational one) adds an entirely unrelated business or product to its organizational design.
A type of organizational design in which two or more separate companies combine forces to develop and operate a specific business. (See mutual service consortia, joint ventures, and value-chain partnerships.)
mutual service consortia
A type of strategic alliance in which two similar companies from the same or similar industries pool their resources to receive a benefit that would be too difficult or expensive for either to obtain alone.
Strategic alliances between companies in different industries that have complementary capabilities.
Strategic alliances in which several companies work together to fulfill opportunitles that require one another's capabilities.
An entirely new company that is separate from the original parent organization, one with its own identity, a new board of directors, and a different management team.