Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of two different types of organizational structure.

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Title: Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of two different types of organizational structure.

Whether small or large, formal or informal, each organization has a structure. Throughout history, the issue of how to establish an effective structure or whether the structure is good or not for an organization has been discussed and researched by managers and theorists in many fields. Organizational structure, defined by Mintzberg (1980) as an aggregation of ways that divide its labor into different tasks and achieve coordination in these tasks, determines the form and function of organizational activities (Moorhead & Griffin, 1995) and establishes a set of relationships among activities regularly (Ficham & Rhodes 2005). It has also been noted that traditional structures, like bureaucratic and divisionalized structure (Mintzberg, 1980), tend to be steady, while modern ones, such as matrix and network structure (Kates & Galbraith, 2007), tend to be flexible. However, no one has seemed to affirm one structure could totally exceed another, as it was stated by Donaldson (1985:155) that “no one best way”. On this basis, this essay is going to assess both merits and demerits of two most typical organizational structures selected from classical types and modern types, which is known as bureaucratic structure and matrix structure. After the part of literature review, the essay will first give definitions of two structures. Subsequently, advantages and disadvantages of bureaucratic structure and matrix structure will be discussed respectively with comparing and contrasting by different viewpoints and examples.

In order to evaluate the benefits and weaknesses of different types of organizational structures, it is first important to understand the general idea about the structure of an organization. Fincham and Rhodes (2005) pointed that the growing size and complexity of enterprises has resulted in the rising of managerial structures separately and distinctly and also stated that establishing an organization structure is constructing a set of relationships among different activities, which is regularly happening. In earlier period, managerial professor Mintzberg (1980:13) described organizational structure briefly as “the sum total of the ways in which its labor is divided into distinct tasks and then its coordination is achieved among these tasks”. After that, Moorhead and Griffin (2005) gave some more detailed definitions. They explained that organizational structure has not only defined the features and styles of the organizational events, but also the way of each unit configuring together in a chart which represents the position of each member, the relationships between staff and managers and the routes of command. At the same time, Ficham and Rhodes (2005:470) supplemented that the design of an organizational chart could be referred to as determining a “physical shape”, which might help an organization to improve work performance and contribute to task achievement. In addition, the structure also determines a position of control and authority (Kate & Galbraith, 2007). “It determines who comes in contact with whom”, stressed by Kate and Galbraith (2007:9-10). Thus, the structure of an organization is closely related to both people and activities in the organization in order to improve the performance and achieve the goals.

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There has been no specific and clear classification about organizational structures. New types of structures would always be created with the development of society and technology while some outdated styles might fade away. In the early twenties, German sociologist Max Weber, who had significant effects on the organizational theories, proposed a theory of bureaucracy structures (1947). According to Weber (1947:339), “bureaucratic administration means fundamentally the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge”. Meanwhile, Burns and Stalker (1961) stated that there are two types of organizational structures in the opposite direction, ranging between organic and mechanistic and suggested that the ...

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