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Study Notes

Flexible Organisations

A-Level, IB, BTEC National
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 6 Aug 2019

The concept of a flexible organisation is all about the ability of a business to adapt to changes in its external environment, to be responsive to opportunities and threats, and to be agile in its decision-making.

A flexible organisation is one that is able to adapt and respond relatively quickly to changes in its external environment in order to gain advantage and sustain its competitive position.

A suitable organisational structure is key to the "flexibility" of a business.

A flexible organisation is more likely to have adopted what is often referred to as an "organic" structure, as compared with a "mechanistic" structure. You can learn more about the difference between organic and mechanistic structures here.

Common characteristics of a flexible organisation are likely to be:

  • Encouragement and adoption of methods of flexible working
  • Flatter rather than tall hierarchies in the organisational structure
  • An organisational culture that embraces change - i.e. see's change as an opportunity rather than something to be resisted
  • Decision-making based on strong communication; likely to be decentralised, with widespread use of employment empowerment

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