After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
- Define organizational structure.
- Identify the basic elements of structure.
- Explain the difference between mechanistic and organic structures and describe factors shaping an organization’s structure.
- Describe matrix, boundaryless, and learning organizations.
- Understand how structure affects ethics.
- Understand cross-cultural influences on structure and change.
As much as individual and team level factors influence work attitudes and behaviors, the organization’s structure can be an even more powerful influence over employee actions. Organizational structure refers to how the work of individuals and teams within an organization is coordinated. In order to achieve organizational goals and objectives, individual work needs to be coordinated and managed. Structure is a valuable tool in achieving coordination, as it specifies reporting relationships (who reports to whom), delineates formal communication channels, and describes how separate actions of individuals are linked together.