Mechanistic organization describes the strictest and most formal of those structures. Mechanistic companies have fine divisions of labor, leading to extremely specialized jobs, they rely on management for control, creating a bureaucracy, plus they’ve many rules and strict chain of commands.
Though a brand new company’s small size might not require strict organization of work. However, workers growth requires order. Organizing tasks among employees help build company structure.
The company might be compared to a machine, with all its parts synchronized to produce a typical, predictable output.
History Overview Of Mechanistic-Organization
During the early 20th century, the industrial age was well under way and mass production had taken the lead.
Business enthusiasts were studying work and workplaces, coming up with ideas on the way to best promote the highest possible efficiency and productivity. They viewed workplaces as cars.
The mechanistic organization evolved from this, featuring job specialization, a bureaucratic management hierarchy, centralized power resting on top of the business and several rules. These characteristics do indeed produce efficiency and productivity.
The mechanical organizational structure also allows a company to benefit from economies of scale, especially in terms of mass production.
Due to their hierarchy, mechanistic organization structures are vertically oriented. The most mechanistic is the functional organizational structure, with its tall, triangular shape.
Many employees form the structure’s foundation, grouped into departments by comparable activities like production. Above them sits their directors.
When each employee specializes closely in a limited part of a larger group, a manager may easily supervises many employees and has a wide span of control.
The span of control gets smaller moving up the organization, where managers manage other managers. The central power of the company crowns all of it.
Few characteristics of mechanistic organization:
- This kind of organizational structure is best when the environment is relatively steady.
- There will not be any difference in the tasks as the sub tasks are easier to control.
- There is low level of interaction between the departments. This is because of the stability of tasks, therefore, independent departments.
- Decision-making is centralized. Important decisions are taken by the people at the top of the organization and does not involve people from lower end of the hierarchy.
- The tasks are standardized so the production runs smoothly.
Centralized decision making in mechanistic type organizations enable few higher management personnel to actively be involved with decision making.
Clear communication channels allow for formal communication or info flows from top to bottom or vice versa. Classical theorists provide a view point that centralized decision making increases organizational efficiency and definitely results in better organizational performance.
Classical theorist’s focus was more on hierarchical authority and pay less or no attention to the degree of employee involvement in decision making.
Employee participation in decision making is definitely an essential facet of any organizational structure and that directly influences organizational performance.
In addition, centralized decision making leads to the effective and efficient functioning of all bureaucratic structure.
Scientific management of organizations is possible only if decision making is limited to few employees within organizations.
Inconvence/Disadvantages Of Mechanistic Organization
As the mechanistic organization structure describes the strictest and most formal of those structures. Mechanistic companies have fine divisions of labor structure accumulated widespread and prolonged use.
Researchers and organizational designers found that the very mechanization that allows for productivity, economics and efficiency also causes problems.
The structure’s inherent bureaucracy hampers efforts to rapidly react to outside market forces. Innovation has to wait on red tape.
Rigid control and specialization of tasks means employees are not free to be creative problem solvers.
Like simple cogs, employee morale can be low. Lastly, grouping employees by function contributes to departmental isolation. Interdepartmental cooperation and communication suffer from mechanical structures.
Is This Structure Still Relevant???
Despite all the negative factors, the mechanistic structure continues to hold relevance. Expanding firms need its control to properly steer their organizations.
Complex or multinational firms may require the divisional structure, which is the most mechanistic after the functional structure.
Mechanistic organization is a valid option when a company’s strategy is to become efficient, steady and cost leadership.
Mechanistic Vs Organic Structure
Mechanistic structure has rules and regulations that are systematized and the hierarchy is very clear. In mechanistic design the power is centralized which means the decisions are taken by the higher authority.
Organic structure is more flexible and the employees need to figure out their tasks themselves. There is no definite hierarchy of power.
The decisions are passed on to the lower level and the lower level gets to know what exactly they are supposed to do.
Organic organization is decentralized which means that the lower level has the decision making power.
Vertical communication takes place in mechanistic organization where the higher authority pass on the instructions and tasks to the lower level management and the lower level is expected to report back.
Horizontal communication helps the workers to share information and ideas in all directions. The employees can give feedback to other department and also to higher authorities. As the information is communicated, the employees are well aware of what is happening in the company.
There are plenty of rules and standard procedures that the workers have to abide by.
The lower management employees are given independence to solve the problems by discussing with other team mates or with customers. In organic design employees work in a group and adjust their roles within the department. The communication shared by the employees is informal and horizontal