Organic organizations are characterized by a set of structural arrangements, such as a low degree of formalization when specifying work responsibilities, a nearly complete lack of division of the activities to be performed, few rules, a significant lateral communication with few hierarchical distinctions and finally, a decentralization of the decision making process.
Comparisons can be made with Mintzberg’s adhocracy. The flat and organic structures of post-bureaucracies make them creative and capable of molding themselves to the variety of new problems they face.
Typically to date we have seen various government agencies in the UK try to become more organic organizations. However with many reported cases of lost sensitive information, such as personal bank details, residence and other personal information which has been stored on government databases, shows a lack of procedure and strict operating procedures. This more formal mechanistic organizational structure is still best suited to government agencies and other areas of the public sector. This is especially important for agencies that deal with sensitive personal information.
Other public sector organizations such as PR or tourism bodies can deploy a more organic structure that will allow the business to be flexible and reduce the number of levels in the organizations structure. In this case the role of managers becomes one of empowerment, providing workers with the information, training, authority and accountability to excel.
Tom Burns and G. M. Stalker, (1961) are famous for establishing the distinction between mechanistic and organic approaches to organization and management. They illustrated that when change in environment becomes the order of the day, as when changing technological and market conditions pose new problems and challenges, open and flexible styles of organization and management are required (Morgan, 2006).
Management is seen to engineer an organizational culture and identity, which impels individuals to take responsibility to rationalize and intensify their own work activities, i.e. “to work smarter to work harder”. The target of this control is not individuals’ behavior, but their emotional commitments, modes of thinking and identities.
Flatter structures reduce the number of opportunities for promotion and the effects of ongoing restructuring include insecurity and increasing workloads. These changes are having an impact on people’s morale, motivation and willingness to deliver high performance.
CASE STUDY – LESPORT HOTEL
The organization features all the services and facilities you would expect to find in a four star Caribbean resort, as well as spa treatments, therapies, fitness and relaxation classes, water sports etc, in an all-inclusive package.
The previous organizational structure can be classified as a traditional machine bureaucracy with a tall hierarchy, and high centralization. Decisions were made at the strategic apex, consisting of divisional heads such as the rooms division manager, deputy general manager and general manager.
In order for organizations to gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace which offers endless choice, there is a need for flexibility in their product and service delivery. This can be achieved through a leaner decentralized organisational structure that can adapt to the environment and the ever-changing technological advancements.
Ultimately the days of traditional bureaucracies are over in the private sector which may be too expensive to maintain and do not meet the needs of the employee.The hospitality industry and the organization of LeSport can be viewed, fundamentally as post-modern, as employers, employees and guests engage each other in searching for truths that will shape their own beliefs and reality.
No two organizations will be structured the same as there are many factors to consider. However, it is clear that the organization must maintain a certain hierarchical level in order for the business to effectively deliver its product and services. Needless bureaucracy should be reduced and centralization should be kept to a minimum wherever possible. Too much flattening and decentralization may cause the organization to fail without control and a power structure in place.
The organization must also support the structural change with policies that meet the needs of the employee, improve communication, integration, knowledge and offer opportunities for learning and career development in order to attract and retain the best employees. Leaders must be nurtured and are crucial in creating a positive work environment, encouraging and developing employees, leading by example and being ambassadors of the organization’s values
It can be argued that the structural change allowed the organization to achieve a competitive advantage. After all, in the hospitality industry it is the quality and organization of our human resources that have the most impact on the organization’s value, products, services, repeat business and reputation.