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Study Notes

Organic vs Mechanistic Organisational Structures


Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The structure of an organisation is an important determinant of how effectively it can both identify the need for change and also respond to the necessary change.

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 flexible organisation is more likely to have adopted what is often referred to as an "organic" structure, as compared with a "mechanistic" structure.

The differences between these two terms are outlined briefly below:

Organic Structures

Characterised by:


Flexible and fluid (easy to change)

Favours informal (e.g.) verbal communication

Associated with decentralised decision-making & employee empowerment

Find change easier to handle

Mechanistic Structures

Characterised by:

More formality & bureaucratic

Associated with centralised decision-making & supervision

Reliance on formal communication methods

Favours standardised policies and procedures

Little perceived need to change

Greater resistance to change when implemented

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