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Study notes

Organic vs Mechanistic Organisational Structures

  • Levels: A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA

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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