Explore BrainMass

Organizational Types and Theory

Your company sponsors a summer intern program, drawing high school students from the local urban area. During their first week, they attend classroom sessions on "business basics," including organizational theory.

Address types of organizations and organizational theory.

Solution Preview

Please see the attached response, which is also presented below. I have attached two highly relevant articles as well. I hope this helps and take care.


I have located some excellent information on organizations and organizational theory that is basic and seems to fit with a presentation for high school students. The article describes the organizational theory and related types of organizational structures (i.e., bureaucratic, complex organizations, flat, and classic designs, human era design, etc.) then applies the organizational concepts to an example of healthcare.

I also attached another article, which describes the types of organizations and the organizational structure (i.e., stakeholders) "Organizational Theory" and "21st Century Organizational Trends."

Article: Organizational Theory and Design

An organization is a collection of people working together under a defined structure for the purpose of achieving predetermined outcomes through the use of financial, human, and material resources. There are a number of approaches to the structure and management of organizations.

Classical or Scientific Theory
The oldest theory of management has a focus on efficiency and production. Evolved into classical organizational theory with the principals of chain of command, unity of command, span of control, specialization, and the use of a scalar chain or vertical levels of authority. The organizational design is bureaucracy.

Classical Theory
- Work is divided into specialized tasks and standardized. The hierarchy of authority (the right to direct) and responsibility (the obligation to perform) is the chain of command. Line authority is linear and derived from position; staff authority is an advisory relationship.
- The arrangement of the work group or organizational structure is based on departmentalization.
- Span of control refers to how many employees a manager can effectively supervise.

Characteristics of Bureaucratic Structures
- Authority and communication flow downward through a rigid chain of command.
- The vertical growth represents many levels of supervision and indicates a one person one boss philosophy (unity of command)
- The number of people supervised is small (span of control).

Bureaucratic Structure
- Bureaucracy results in a line structure, so called because it is a chain of command or leader-follower relationship. It is also called a machine bureaucracy.
- This type of structure facilitates large-scale administration by coordinating the work of many personnel.

Complex Organizations
- Highly structured, formal entities with uniform rules, policies and procedures.
- People placed in functional specialty areas with standard pay structures, roles and responsibilities.
- Authority clearly designated and centralized - a tall structure

Flat Structures
Less complex organizations have flat structures where authority is decentralized and the span of control is wider.

Other Classical Designs
Simple structure consists of a strategic apex (executive- level management) and an operating core (the individuals responsible for the organizational work ). An example is a private physician's office.

Classical Designs
- A professional bureaucracy consists of an operating core of professionals with decentralized decision-making and a well-developed support staff. The technostructure (individuals who standardize and improve the work, such as accountants) is underdeveloped. Most hospitals are professional bureaucracies.
- A divisionalized form is characterized by a number of independent divisions with one administration such as an integrated system.
- Adhocracy is a fluid structure using shifting teams of management, staff, and experts.

Human Relations Era
- Concern for profit and production along with the human or social elements of an organization.
- Fosters cooperation between labor and management and strives for worker autonomy and growth.
- Focus on the informal organization with its rewards of attention and recognition.

Neoclassical or Humanistic Theory
- Less formal, less control. More ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains "business basics," including both types and theories of organizations. Supplemented with two highly relevant and supporting articles.