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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 ?
"Hamas should instantly agree to Fatah's requests to organize Fatah's 48th anniversary in any area in Gaza of Fatah's choice," he said.
The arrival of Organize comes as Americans are ramping up their spending on stuff that holds other stuff.
Many automotive suppliers that pursue a global business design eventually find themselves facing a fundamental business design choice: do I organize the company around regions, or do I organize it around global product groups?
Instead of using a set of rigid rules to compose these photographs, I simplify and organize them by using repeating and contrasting patterns and rhythms to communicate certain feelings or thoughts: diagonal thrusts that dynamically pull the eye through the image, off-center placement to avoid static imagery, variations in scale that create the illusion of depth, and leading lines that draw us to the most significant point in the image.
When providers in Rhode Island were in the final stages of the battle for health insurance, the secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO advised us to let the state labor relations board declare everyone employees so they could organize. In 2004, SEIU submitted legislation to have providers declared state employees and simultaneously requested the same ruling from the state labor relations board.
In Congress, the proposed Employee Free Choice Act would allow workers to organize by simple sign-up majority, force employers to negotiate a first contract, and impose heavier penalties on employers who violate workers' rights.
After talking to workfare workers at some of the 500 workfare cites in Los Angeles County, ACORN organizers found numerous issues to organize around.
Those responsibilities may include dealing with efforts by a union to organize the workforce, operating within the parameters of a collective bargaining agreement, trying to head-off labor unrest that could result in job actions, and similar realities of work, or being part of a union organization.
Given these realities, it came as no surprise when, in the spring of 2001, graduate students at the Ivy League school launched Graduate Employees Together of the University of Pennsylvania (Get-UP;, a formal effort to organize a union.
Beyond large-scale efforts to identify and organize Internet content, many local efforts structure learning tools that provide quality information filtering of relevant Web information.
Had they been forced to use American labor law and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), it would have taken months or years, if ever, to organize and to win a contract.

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