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a social grouping designed to achieve certain goals. In the modern world much of the provision of goods and services is undertaken by organizations, and they are the main providers of paid employment. The core features of the modern organization were outlined by Max Weber (1864-1920) in his analysis of BUREAUCRACY. In his view the bureaucratic organization was the dominant mode of organization in modern industrial societies. Organizations of this sort are often also called formal organizations since they exist independently of the individuals who belong to them at any given time, and the roles and activities of organization members are formally prescribed at least to some extent. Informal organization, by contrast, is where the differentiation of roles (for example leader, follower) is not formally specified and where roles emerge naturally Small GROUPS are often referred to as informal organizations. They can be a source of difficulty within formal organizations because their respective roles and goals may conflict.

All formal organizations have a structure of roles and a set of arrangements to achieve the organization's objectives. This is known as the organization's design. It embraces the distribution of tasks that organization members perform and the mechanisms of coordination and control. Design is thus more than the simple lines of AUTHORITY and ACCOUNTABILITY shown in the ORGANIZATION CHART. In ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS three dimensions of structure are usually seen as fundamental:

  1. centralization: the number of levels in the HIERARCHY and the extent to which decisions are taken at the top of the organization;
  2. specialization: the extent to which the total activities of the organization are broken down into specialized jobs for individuals. See JOB DESIGN AND REDESIGN;
  3. standardization: the extent to which the conduct of activities necessary to achieve the organization's goals are controlled and coordinated by standard, written rules.

Organizations differ along these dimensions. Small dynamic organizations in high growth sectors are often characterized by low centralization, specialization and standardization; by contrast, public administration often exhibits the opposite (see MECHANISTIC AND ORGANISMIC ORGANIZATIONS). See WORK ORGANIZATION, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, PRODUCT-BASED STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURE, MATRIX STRUCTURE, H-FORM, TALL ORGANIZATION, FLAT ORGANIZATION.


the structure of authority or power within a FIRM or public body. Generally, there will be a number of management levels in an organization, with a chief executive at the top of the pyramid-shaped organization and increasing numbers of senior, middle and junior managers further down the hierarchy, operatives, sales people and clerks forming the base of the pyramid. Lines of authority are established by the organization's structure, with orders being transmitted downwards in increasing detail and information feedback being transmitted upwards.

In the traditional THEORY OF THE FIRM, such organizational details are ignored, the firm being portrayed as a simple decisionmaking unit that responds exactly to orders initiated by its controlling ENTREPRENEUR. In practice, the structure and operations of large, complex organizations themselves will affect the decision-making process and the specification of organization objectives. See ORGANIZATION THEORY, BEHAVIOURAL THEORY OF THE FIRM, MFORM ORGANIZATION, U FORM ORGANIZATION, CORPORATE RE-ENGINEERING.

References in periodicals archive ?
A positive relationship between job satisfaction and organisational commitment has been reported by studies involving qualified professionals.
Researchers have found that perceived organisational support is positively related to organisational commitment (Chen et al 2005; Casper and Buffardi 2004; Yoon and Thye 2002; Cheung 2000; Lok and Crawford 1999; Eisenberger et al 1990).
Previous research has devoted a great deal of attention to the relationship between leadership behaviour and organisational commitment.
Previous organisational studies have shown level of education affects organisational commitment (Lee 2005; Buchko et al 1998; Mathieu and Zajac 1990; Mottaz 1988).
The study utilised the analytical procedure of multiple regression to determine whether job satisfaction, perceived organisational support, transformational leadership and level of education predict a score on the Nurses' Organisational Commitment Questionnaire.
In order to determine the multiple correlations between the four predictors (job satisfaction, perceived organisational support, transformational leadership behaviour and level of education) on the degree of organisational commitment among registered and licensed practical nurses in South Florida's long-term facilities, an answer was sought to the following research question:
What is the multiple correlation between the predictors (job satisfaction, perceived organisational support, transformational leadership behaviour and level of education) and the nurses' organisational commitment?
In addition to demographic information, the Nurses' Organisational Commitment Questionnaire focused on respondents' level of organisational commitment, job satisfaction and perceived organisational support.
The dependent variable, organisational commitment, was measured by a 23 item index called Organisational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) developed by Meyer et al (1993) with an estimated Cronbach's alpha .
Perceived Organisational Support was examined via a 16-item questionnaire called Survey of Perceived Organisational Support (SPOS) scale, developed by Eisenberger, Huntington et al (1986).
In the recent study conducted by Zhu et al (2005), testing an integrated theoretical model relating chief executive officers' transformational leadership, the authors found human-capital-enhancing human resource management fully mediates the relationship between chief executives' transformational leadership and subjective assessment of organisational outcomes and partially mediates the relationship between chief executives' transformational leadership and absenteeism.
ABSA management and the communication function believe that this measurement tool provides for dynamic needs of organisational communication well into the next decade and beyond.

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