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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 ?
In addition to discussing the history of spying on Americans by Americans, and the ways Americans have resisted individually and organizationally, many of the chapters focus on how people are categorized and monitored based on their activities.
In Phase II, all controls and 24 hour cells were normal, but those cells treated with Mannose and Mannitol at 48 and 72 hours appeared morphologically and organizationally different.
"Periodic financial audits, program and project evaluations and institutional assessments have consistently shown that D&P was well managed, organizationally and financially, and very capable of achieving results" for the government's Canadian International Development Agency, said the briefing document.
Minister of State of Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran, who informed this in a written reply to a question by Tarachand Bhagora in the Lok Sabha today, said there are reports that the United Liberation Front of Asom/Anti-talk (ULFA/AT) faction continues to consolidate organizationally and strengthen its military capability for carrying out violent activities in different parts of Assam, with a view to maintain its dominance as well as create fear psychosis to facilitate extortion.
He added that "they do not feel any connection with the Movement leadership, either organizationally or financially".
However, at least they were organizationally coherent, mostly co-located, and reported to a single general officer.
Integrating lawyers into these units both physically and organizationally has afforded them a more thorough understanding of the way their clients do business.
The study's lead author, Don DeMoro, director of the organizationally affiliated Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, said this is why direct healthcare expenditures have a more powerful impact on the overall economy than purchases of private health insurance would.
"As a result if his struggle and caliber he was elected as the Secretary General and became the dynamo for the party politically and organizationally. His line was a national one while preserving his party and Ansari commitment" Al-Mahdi said.
Although few people disagree with the basic strategies and objectives of ECR, the argument against it says that organizationally, most manufacturers and retailers are simply not structured or trained to fully implement ECR today.

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