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How Formal Organizations Evolved

I am looking for some details for the following questions can you please assist me:

1. How has formal organizations evolved over the past century. What differences were there then compared to today. What are the current trends in formal organizations.
2. Describe how the characteristics of activities, hierarchy, norms, membership criteria, communications and focus will have to change for organizations to become more open and flexible.
3. Cite 3-5 sources
4. How will formal bureaucratic organizations likely to evolve in the future?

Solution Preview

Hi,

Interesting assignment topic! Let's look closer at the questions to include in the paper from various sources, which you can draw on for your final copy. I also provided several links and attached an article to consider. The questions can act as a tentative outline for the body of your paper. It will include an Introduction (e.g., introduce your topic; include purpose statement: The purpose of this paper is to...; and include what will be included in the paper, in the order that the will be presented) and Conclusion (e.g. restate purpose statement in a different way; sum up main points or conclusions drawn) as well.

RESPONSE:

1. How has formal organizations evolved over the past century. What differences were there then compared to today. What are the current trends in formal organizations?

The formal organization has evolved to take on more "informal" characteristics.

"The formal organization is simply the org chart and its companion processes and programs. It starts with a hierarchical skeleton. In most companies, there's a CEO sitting on top and horizontal compartments, often by geography, function, or lines of business. And then there are the lines of report connecting them, showing how formal responsibilities are distributed throughout the organization, along with formal processes to manage work and information flows and incentives. Clearly, these are essential elements of any well-functioning organization" (http://www.businessweek.com/careers/content/feb2007/ca20070214_709560.htm, see article at the end of this response).

CURRENT TRENDS

Formal organizations are typically understood to be systems of coordinated and controlled activities that arise when work is embedded in complex networks of technical relations and boundary-spanning exchanges. But in modern societies [current trends have emerged with the] formal organizational structures arise in highly institutional contexts. Organizations are driven to incorporate the practices and procedures defined by prevailing rationalized concepts of organizational work and institutionalized in society. Organizations that do so increase their legitimacy and their survival prospects, independent of the immediate efficacy of the acquired practices and procedures. There can develop a tension between on the one hand, the institutionalized products, services, techniques, policies, and programs that function as myths (and may be ceremonially adopted), and efficiency criteria on the other hand. To maintain ceremonial conformity, organizations that reflect institutional rules tend to buffer their formal structures from the uncertainties of the technical activities by developing a loose coupling between their formal structures and actual work activities. - (John Meyer and Brian Rowan, 1976).

Also see http://www.businessweek.com/@@4pDSSIUQ5Pw0mB0A/magazine/content/06_09/b3973083.htm.

Historically, the formal organization had the following key characteristics: enduring, unless deliberately altered; top-down control; static; excellent at alignment; plain to see; equates "person" with "role"; hierarchical; bound together by codified rules and order e.g. organizational chart; easily understood and explained; and critical for dealing with situations that are known and consistent. Formal organizational structures worked, but gradually as work environments evolved so did the "informal" organizational structure. In fact, some have regarded the informal organization as the byproduct of insufficient formal organization?arguing, for example, that "it can hardly be questioned that the ideal situation in the business organization would be one where no informal organization existed." [1] ( as cited in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informal_organization).

However, the contemporary approach, such as that suggested as early as 1925 by Mary Parker Follett, the pioneer of community centers and author of influential works on management philosophy?is to integrate the informal organization and the formal organization, recognizing the strengths and limitations of each. Integration, as Follett defined ...

Solution Summary

In reference to current trends, this solution explains how formal organizations have evolved and how they will evolve in the future. It describes how the characteristics of activities, hierarchy, norms, membership criteria, communications and focus will have to change for organizations to become more open and flexible. Supplemented with two supporting and informative article on formal organizations and trends.

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