Organisation Structures: Influencing culture and work design

An Organization Structure according to Mintzberg (1979) is: “The sum total of the ways in which it divides its labour into distinct task and then achieves Coordination between them”. Handy (1993) and Mintzberg (1983) analysed two ways in which Organisation Structure could influence work Design and Culture. Handy (1985) focused on Organisation in terms of Cultures and identified four structures, Web Structure, Greek Temple, Net Clusters. A formal Organisation has been defined by Scheine (1980) as the planned Co-ordination of the activities of a number of people for the achievement of some common, explicit purpose or goal, through Hierarchy of authority and responsibility.

Lawrence and Lorsch (1967) label ‘Contingency Approach’ technology can impact Organisation Structure; the Contingency Approach does not seek to produce Universal prescriptions or behaviours. Smiths Contingency (1988) example outlines the various approach an Organisation can influenced by organisation factors such as behavioural Contingence rules, failure to maintain these could influence structure, culture and mission strategy. Vroom and Yetton’s (1973) decision participation Contingency Theory outline the effectiveness of management decisions could influence quality work design.

Conceptual Model

Source: Woudstra E., & Gemert, L. van. (1994).

A number of critics suggested by Parkinson (1957) have asserted large Organisations are over bureaucratized, devoting a disproportionate amount of their Staff Resources to administration. Argyris (1974) criticised the Formal Organisation he claims Bureaucratic Organisation restricts individual’s growth and self-fulfilment and the Psychological healthy person, causes a feeling of failure, frustration and conflicts (Laurie M, p. 522).

Blau (1970) attempts to summarise and resolve conflicts as follows, large size is associated with structural Differentiations, and Differentiation in turn creates pressures to increase the size of administrative Components Blau (1971:57) “Size is the most important condition affecting the structure of Organisations”. Interactionist theories have contribute the idea sustaining interaction successfully on accomplishing two things systematically interviewing your actions with those of another person and observing the social ‘Rituals’ required by the particular set of participants or situation (Guirdham M, 1999).

Ting-Toomey (1998) face theories outlines face co-orientation that is mutual knowledge of each other’s face expectations, Face claims can influence employees especially where Face to Face negotiation is critical this can influence culture and have impact on work design because of lack of interaction among employees.

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Cultural differences in face work (based on Ting-Toomey & Kurogi 1998)

Charles Handy (1985) identified Organisational factors which can influence Culture and work design, these factors include, History and ownership, size, Technology, goals and objectives, the environment and people. Organisation size can influence work design because control is retained by top management by means of allocating projects to employees and resources. Organisation Size can influence person Culture because verbal communication difficulties are frequent source of confusion and misunderstanding, these may arise because of sheer lack of fluency on part of the sender or because of use of Jargon (Cole, p. 26).No Socialization takes place up wards and downwards the Hierarchy leading employees follow their own bents in an office results. Cluster self-oriented individual.

Organisation Structures can influence Cultures and work design for example the History and ownership of the company will affect Culture in following ways. Handy (1985) Centralized ownership will lead towards a power Culture with more control of the resources. The power Perspective imposed by Donaldson (1985a) and Williamson (1985) rail against those theoretical persuasions which tend to use ‘Power’ as a constitutive property of the Model of Organisation. Power can be seen passed from Top management through the Organisation structure and this can influence Culture because employees are dependent on resources (Pfeffer and Salancik 1978). New Organisation will mean combine two different Cultures together and sometime employees might not be comfortable with this approach because religion beliefs and Traditional Values can get in the way.

Modern Organisation structures have witness Technology as impact on work design and Culture. Tavistock theorists have coined the phrase ‘Social-technical system. Chandler (1977) and Williamson (1975; 1985) argue firms grow beyond a certain point, not just further differentiation but a structural reorganization is likely to take place. Lincoln, Hanada and. Trist and Bamforth (1975) changing technology would have a disruptive effect on the relationships of men during the job, thus on productivity. Perrow (1976) suggest the impact of technology on systems of Co-ordination, Control, on degree of inter-dependence, on individual influence and power, on goals and motivation. McLoughlin and Harris (1986) have argued Technology is accorded a specific causal status: the idea of technological influences on the shaping of technology itself is not.

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Buchana and Boddy (1995) argue for example ‘the capabilities of Technology will are enabling, rather than determining’ and it is ‘decisions or choices concerning how the technology will be used’ and not the technology itself, which leads to Organisational outcomes. This can influence work design because having Technology makes employees dependent on technology, skills are eroded due to dependence on Technology this affects work design. Introducing new Technology influence Task Culture because individuals are more reliant on Technology compared to Team and Groups tends to be the common enemy obliteration individual objectives and most status and style differences (Handy 1985, p. 193).

Organisational Goals and objectives can influence work design. John Child (1972, 1984) disagree with this view of Donaldson arguing Contingency theorist ignore the degree of structural choice which Managers have. The process of Organisational design is not only a technical, rational matter but one shaped by political process. Winstanley and Woodall (2000) point out, ” until very recently the field of business ethics was not preoccupied with issues relating to ethical management of employees the main debate in business ethics have centred round the Social responsibility of business in relations with clients and the environment”. Those with a more critical perspective argue ‘workers need to be influenced to cooperate because of their essential alienation from the productive process’ (Thompson and Mchugh, 2002, p. 306). Downs (1997) argues, narcissistic behaviour produces a breath of values, careful image management, an absence of empathy, loyalty or any deep emotion and an obsession with personal gain. The narcissist as leader, creates problems for Organisations, this can influence work design because of lack of commitment to task Organisation Culture can be affected narcissistic behaviour due to lack of empathy or concern for other employees values or beliefs.

The nature of the Business Environment can influence work design. (Handy 1985, p. 200) identified four business environments which are the economic environment, the market, the competitive scene, geographical and societal environment. The nature of the environment can influence work design, research by Hage and Aiken (1967), Gerwin (1979) and Hill and Pickering (1986) shows a firm performance depends on having a structure can impact Culture, different Nationalities prefer different Organisational Cultures. Change in the Environment requires a Culture which is sensitive adaptable to quick responses. Diversity in Environment requires a diversified structure this will result in Diversity towards task Culture because individuals are used to working in pairs or groups.

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Employees working different business Organisation Overseas can become influence by the impact of different Cultures operating Home and Away, differing Psychological contracts for example certain types of people will be happy and successful in one Culture in home Country but employees will find it difficult to adjust to Cultures operating in other Countries and this can influence work design because of environment.

Hostead (1980) research found Low Context Cultures example Japanese cultures are more dominated group involvement and participation compared with high Context Cultures example United Kindom and the United States of America. An individualist with a low tolerance for ambiguity will prefer the tighter role prescriptions of the role Culture.

In conclusion, Organisation Structures have impact on the work design and Culture, however, Luthans (1990) outlined is important informal Organisation having little relationship with other employees could influence Organisation Culture employees will work in isolation not discussing any work with each other this can cause communication barriers and result in development of person Culture individual. Contingency theorist have been criticised on a number of points, first the theorist do not present a cumulative set of ideas, which each one seeming to choose different variables, such as ‘supportive’ and ‘directive behaviour, as in case of Hersey and Blanchard (1985), not sufficiently well explained or justified but it does equate to leadership influence. Secondly, Contingency factors are not related to or explained in terms of such thing as organisation Structure, Technology, size or other dimensions which likely to impact leadership processes (Barrett and Sutcliffe 1992:12). Handy (1985) identified six factors influencing Organisation structures which can impact work design and Culture. Trompenaars (1997) defined value dimension slightly differently from Hofstead (1981) as a conflict between what each of us wants as an individual and the interest of group we belong to, Individualism is ‘a prime orientation to self’, collectivism is a ‘prime orientation to common goals and objections’.

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