Leadership – Mechanical and Organic Organizational Structure

McShane and Von Glinow define the organization as “a group of people who depend on each other for some purpose” [McShane, Von Glinow, 2012, p. 5]. In order for these people to successfully achieve their common goals and objectives, there must be some degree of strategic coordination between them to promote an efficient and effective degree of collaboration. This necessary coordination reflects the organizational structure and can be broadly divided into mechanical or organic structures [McShane, Von Glinow, 2012].

Mechanical and organic structure characteristics

The mechanical structure is characterized by a narrow control range, indicating that the high-rise and vertical structures have many layers. Power in the mechanical structure is concentrated on the top of the organization to maintain power. They are usually highly formalized with many standardizations, rules and procedures. The process of communication is like structure, vertical rather than horizontal. The organic structure is just the opposite. It has a wide range of controls, making the structure level and flat.

Decision-making power is delegated to the organization. The organic structure is more informal and flexible, rather than standardized, with greater horizontal communication flow [McShane, Von Glinow, 2012].

Choose the best organizational structure

To some extent, each organization needs two types of structures. It is the internal and external environment of the organization that dynamically determines the degree of mechanical or organic characteristics that are most appropriate at any particular stage of the organization's life. Most organizations start in a very simple form and become more complex as they grow and expand. With a small number of customers, employees and product lines, it creates a relatively stable environment in which the mechanical structure is optimal.

Stability is the ideal season for standardized procedures, establishing rules and operational strategies, and creating a basic framework for the organization's operations. As the number of employees decreases, the scope of control can be narrower and higher, providing closer supervision and a more professional role in these critical start-ups that may last for several years. This higher level structure is also conducive to centralized decision making, which is appropriate in the process of organizing the development culture and establishing its position in their respective industries.

As the organization evolved, Daft and Marcel [2011] described two major changes that have taken place that have created a need for more organic structures. The first case is the result of an increase in the customer base, product line and/or number of services provided, which means that the organization must hire more employees. The increase in customer demand also requires more professional customer service, which means more departments. The new department will need to create new roles for these departments. The new product line will need to know more about the environmental and legal regulations regarding these products. All of these new challenges may require changes to standardized procedures to meet new demands that are increasingly undermining well-planned mechanical structure routines and policies [Daft, Marcel, 2011].

Organizational development is often characterized by rapid changes that require a higher level of coordination across the organization. This coordination refers to the quality of collaboration between employees and departments, and is more conducive to a flatter organizational structure consistent with the organic structure. This means organizing teams and people networks, improving the ability to communicate horizontally, and encouraging information sharing, which inevitably enables lower-level employees to make high-quality and fast decisions in a rapidly changing environment. It does not completely reduce the need for vertical dimensions, but it creates more horizontal size requirements [Daft, Marcel, 2011].

How do the two structures work together?

The National University of America [NAU] is a good example of how organizations need both vertical and horizontal perspectives. Their vertical dimensions include the board of directors and the board of directors that oversees the organization's executive functions and reports to shareholders. This dimension also includes operations that are responsible for environmental elements such as federal regulations. Because universities have both physical and virtual facilities, in addition to complying with Internet security regulations, state and local regulations must also be observed. These are the areas that the vertical spheres of their structure contain. Its lateral dimensions are more suitable for its ability to provide personalized service to students and staff. Managing the financial and academic needs of students and employees requires high-quality collaboration between departments.

in conclusion

While organizations may be more inclined to structure than others, both institutions and organic structures are necessary for organizations to achieve their goals. As organizations evolve and change to respond to rapidly changing environmental factors, they must be able to adapt their structure to a changing environment. Adaptation may need to expand its control to improve the quality of collaboration; it may involve reducing the level of formalization by suspending or modifying established policies and procedures and other routine functions that no longer function in more complex environments; it may include The willingness to information and power empowers employees.


Daft, R.L., Marcic D. [2011]. Learn about management version 7. Southwest Cengage learning. Mason, OH 45040.

McShane, S.L., Von Glinow, M.A. [2012]. Organizational behavior. McGraw-Hill Company, New York, New York. 10020

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