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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.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


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.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The Decree also calls the SCC's departments to take necessary measures - merging, forming, or abolishing organisational departments - to meet with the newly formed general organisational structure.
(2012), "Predicting pro-change behaviour: The role of perceived organisational justice and organisational identification".
The attitude towards organisational change had significant relationships with impact, education level and job experience, and the behaviour towards organisational change had a significant relationship with competence (p less than 0.05).
The HumanConcepts Organisational Planning Suite is designed to provide comprehensive organisational insight and the tools for implementing change decisions.
Keywords Organisational climate, heterogeneity of climate, differential climate perception, climate across age, hierarchy, qualifications and functions
Organisational commitment was described by Yoon and Thye (2002) as a construct that affected employees' work behaviours using two approaches.
Before founding Material Assistance 10 years ago, Griffiths worked in communication, human resources and organisational development with the Star, South Africa's leading daily newspaper, and edited various consumer and financial journals within the Barlow Rand Group.
Perceptions of organisational subculture and their significance for organisational commitment.
* the identification of values that stakeholders will deem positive and the successful communication of those values to the stakeholder groups (by managing the organisational image)
I imagine many sceptics are thinking, "Oh no, another buzzword to follow Downsizing, Rightsizing, Restructuring, Reengineering, and now - Organisational Communication.
Applied organisational communication was identified as one of the primary tools in the extensive development process currently under way a process encompassing a total rethink on job levels, skills development, rewards packages and the way the organisation will position itself to meet future prospects.
Business communicators, while au fait with the vital part they must play in organisational change, may not have fully grasped the subtleties with which companies are tackling the process.

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