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Content about Organizing

December 1, 2011

From a practical perspective, asking if an organization that fits its environment will perform better than an organization that does not seems to make as much sense as asking if an individual who is qualified for a job will perform better than a person who is not. However, in the world of organizational studies, structural contingency researchers give considerable thought to understanding the environmental factors that influence organizational effectiveness, while often failing to prove a connection between fit and performance (March & Sutton, 1997) and not adequately considering managerial choice as a factor driving organizational fit. Contingency theorists argue that an organization that adapts to its environment will perform better than an organization that does not (Donaldson, 1996) and that mismatched characteristics within organizational configurations will prevent an organization from achieving natural harmony with its environment that will lead to better performance (Mitzberg, 1981). 

June 1, 2011

In "Organizational design: fashion or fit," Henry Mintzberg (1981) explores the natural configurations of organizations that result from elements of structure and situation to discover that consistency, coherence, and fit are the keys to successful organizational design. Mintzberg asserts that problems in organizational design come from two mistaken assumptions: 1) that organizations are alike, and 2) that effective organizations have coherent component parts. Rather, organizational characteristics fall into natural configurations, which are simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, divisionalized form, and adhocracy. Mismatched characteristics within these configurations will prevent an organization from achieving a natural harmony. To design effective organizations, managers must achieve a proper fit of organizational characteristics. This précis  will summarize Mintzberg’s article to find how harmonizing organizational parts may lead to organizational success.