Posts Tagged Modern Theory

VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL STRUCTURE

The classical bureaucratic model of organization though pervasive, has been considered inappropriate to the changing requirements of modern times. A bureaucratic organization was considered to be too inflexible and hierarchical to adapt to the changes occurring in organizations and technology.

 

Parkinson’s laws and Peter Principle highlight the negative aspects of bureaucratic organizations. Whatever be the criticism against bureaucracies, it is realized that to some extent they have become essential. Therefore, writers and organizations began to explore ways to modify the bureaucratic organization structures. In essence these new structures reflect modifications to the classical principles of delegation of authority and standard of control.

 

Delegation extends the scope of the principle to the point of an abiding organization-wide philosophy of management. A tall organization structure means a series of narrow spans of control, and a flat one incorporates wide spans and limited layers of control at horizontal levels. Both the structures have their advantages and disadvantages. They should be viewed on relevant concepts and not as ideal absolutes.

 

A tall structure calls for control and close supervision over the subordinates. But close supervision may not necessarily produce better control. Similarly in a flat organization with wide spans, it may not be possible to keep close control over subordinates but it provides for decentralization, individual initiative and self-control. Tall structures are less favorably viewed it is held that self-control is better than imposed control. The choice in this regard however rests ultimately on management assumptions about individuals and groups in organizations.

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MODERN (SYSTEM) VIEWPOINT-2

Since 1940s, researches and information theorists also looked at organizations in a Systems viewpoint. In 1956 Kenneth Bounding propounded General Systems Theory (GST).

 

The GST approach suggests the following nine levels of systems complexity: 

  1. The most basic level is the static structure. It could be termed the level of frameworks. As example would be the anatomy of the universe.
  2. The second level is the simple dynamic system. It incorporates necessary predetermined motions. This could be termed the level of clockworks.
  3. The next level is a cybernetic system characterized by automatic feedback control mechanisms. This could be thought of as the level of the thermostat.
  4. The forth level is called “open-systems” level. It is a self-maintaining structure and is the level where life begins to differentiate from nonlife. This is the level of the cell.
  5. The fifth level can be termed the “genetic-societal” level. It is typified by the plant and occupies the empirical world of the botanist.
  6. The next is the animal level, which is characterized by increased mobility, teleological behavior, and self-awareness.
  7. The seventh level is the human level. The major difference between the human level and the animal level is the human’s possession of self-consciousness.
  8. The next level is that of social organizations. The important unit in a social organization is not the human per se but rather the organizational role that the person assumes.
  9. The ninth and last level is reserved for transcendental systems. This allows for ultimate, absolutes, and the inescapable unknowable.

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MODERN (SYSTEM) VIEWPOINT-1

As a part of our talk on organizational design, development and change, we discussed on different topic like Classical Viewpoint, Dysfunctional Aspects, Administrative Theory, Scientific Management, Neoclassical View Point, and many aspects which are related to Organizations. Today we will discuss on Modern means System Viewpoint here.

 

Modern theories of organization and management have been developed largely since the 1930s. The perspective here is to provide a systems viewpoint. Among the several persons who contributed to the modern theory, it was perhaps Chester I. Bernard, who in 1938, provide a comprehensive explanation of the modern view of management and organization. He considered the individual, organization, suppliers and consumers as part of the environment. Ten years later, Weiner’s pioneering work on cybernetic developed concepts of systems control by information feedback. He described an adaptive system (including an organization) as mainly dependent upon measurement and correction through feedback. An organization is viewed as a system consisting of five parts: inputs, process, output, feedback and environment.

 

Since 1940s, researches and information theorists also looked at organizations in a Systems viewpoint. In 1956 Kenneth Bounding propounded General Systems Theory (GST).

 

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