Understanding Organizational Structures and Design: What They Are and How They Work

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    Understanding Organizational Structures and Design: What They Are and How They Work

    Much of the content
    of this topic came from this book:
    Consulting and Organization Development - Book Cover

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

    Strongly Suggested Pre-Reading

    Performance Management


    Be sure to read the description in Organizational
    Performance Management
    to understand that organizational structures are
    ultimately strategies to help increase the performance of the organization.

    To successfully decide the best structures for your organization — or to improve
    the health of an already established organization — you need some basic understanding
    of organizational design. You should know what an organization really is, including
    its parts and how they all work together. Too often, this information is not
    understood. As a result, leaders and managers add or modify activities within
    their organizations and without meaning to, they adversely affect the other

    You should understand the parts that are the same across all types of organizations
    — and the parts that are highly unique between them. Otherwise, you might miss
    out on the vast free resources for assistance to you because you believe your
    organization and its problems are truly unique.

    You should know how to recognize the typical features of a new and start-up
    organization (in its first life stage) as compared to a well established one
    (in its mature life stage). Without knowing that information, you can have unrealistic
    expectations of your start-up organization, resulting in increasing confusion,
    frustration and conflicts. You won’t know what is needed to evolve to the next

    You should be able to recognize the differences in cultures between organizations.
    Otherwise, you will not understand why other people have such different values
    and expectations than yours — and that theirs is not wrong.

    You also should know about how organizations are changing significantly because
    of numerous driving forces today. These changes are also causing changes in
    the nature of the leadership and management within them. Those coming changes
    are likely to affect you.

    This purpose of this series of articles is to convey the core concepts in all
    of that information to you. You should proceed through the series by going through
    the articles in the following order.

    (Those who naturally prefer to focus on the “business side” in organizations,
    rather than the “human skills” side, might particularly appreciate
    this topic on organizational structures.)

    Various (and Sometimes Contrary) Perspectives

    Development of Management Thoughts
    The Skeptical
    and Affirmative Postmodernist (Organization) Theory Debates

    Major Organizational Theories

    Go Through This Series in This Order

    This article is the first in the series which includes:

    1. What is an Organization?
    2. What
    Makes Each Organization Unique
    3. How They’re the Same: They’re Systems

    4. Basic Overview of Life Cycles in
    5. Basic Overview of Organizational

    6. Legal Forms and Traditional
    Structures of Organizations
    7. Driving Forces and a New Organizational
    8. Emerging Nature and New
    Organizational Structures and Design
    9. Basic Guidelines for Organizational
    10. Wrap
    Up: Grasping the Big Picture in Organizations (video)

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Organizational Theory

    In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which
    have posts related to Organizational Theories. Scan down the blog’s page to
    see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the
    sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in
    the blog.

    Consulting and Organizational Development Blog

    Leadership Blog

    Nonprofit Capacity Building Blog

    Supervision Blog

    Also consider
    Performance Management

    For the Category of Organizational Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
    want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
    Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

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