Harrison Typology

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Harrison: Typologies of Organisational Culture
These are rough, lecture note summaries only
Handy reporting the work of Harrison, suggests that organisations can be classified under four cultures: POWER CULTURE
Many small enterprises and large conglomerates such display the characteristics of a centralised power culture. Even Mintzberg recognises this in his account of a divisionalised structure. This model is very like Weber's Charismatic organisation. It is like a web with a ruling spider. Those in the web are dependent on a central power source. Rays of power and influence spread out from a central figure or group. There may be a specialist or functional structure but central control is exercised largely through appointing, loyal key individuals and interventionist behaviour from centre.whim and personal influence rather than on procedures or purely logical factors. This is not to say that the whim is autocratic or authoritarian - although it be is authoritative. Effectiveness is judged on results and sometimes for the central figure, perhaps the ends sometimes justify their means. • ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES

Such organisations can be strong, proud and dynamic, react quickly to external demands. However power cultures may suffer from staff disaffection. People in the middle layers may feel they have insufficient scope. The interventionist pressure and constant need to refer to centre may create dysfunctional competition and jostling for the support of the boss The organisation is dependent on the ability and judgement of the central power - if weak then the organisation will struggle. As the power organisation grows, the centrist culture breaks down if it becomes impossible for the centre to keep up its interventionist, co-ordinating role. The large organisation may need to divisionalise (create other spiders webs linked to the central web). • MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

The dominant managerial style may readily equates to Reddin's task-oriented-entrepreneurial style and shares its potential advantages and disadvantages. Individuals succeed as long as they are power oriented, politically minded,, risk taking with a low need for security. The power of members is based on control over resources and personal influence with the centre. ROLE CULTURE

Often referred to as a bureaucracy, it works by logic and rationality. Its pillars represent functions and specialisms. Departmental functions are delineated and empowered with their role e.g. the finance dept., the design dept etc. Work within and between departments (pillars) is controlled by procedures, role descriptions and authority definitions. Communication structures and well defined systems and products (committee constitutions and reports, procedure manuals, official memoranda). There are mechanisms and rules for processing decisions and resolving conflicts. Matters are taken up the line to the pediment of the doric structure where heads of functions can define a logical, rational, & corporate response". Co-ordination is at the top - with the senior management group. Job position is central to this not necessarily the job holder as a person. People are appointed to role based on their ability to carry out the functions - satisfactory performance of role. This is very much in line with Weber's bureaucratic framework Performance required is related to role and functional position. Performance over and above role is not expected and may disrupt. Efficiency stems from rational allocation of work and conscientious performance of defined responsibility. • ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES

If economies of scale are more important than flexibility or technical expertise and specialism more important than product innovation or product cost - the the stability and conformity of the role culture has merits. Mintzber refers to this model as the machine bureaucracy. Role-cultures tend to develop in a relatively stable...
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