Recently, workplace flexibility has been an important issue in management. Flexibility is about an employee and an employer making changes to when, where and how a person will work to better meet individual and business needs (Workplace Flexibility 2011).
Flexible work arrangements are a broad concept that includes any work arrangements that digress from standard employment involving fixed daily hours on the employer’s premises (Gardiner and Tomlinson 2009). It involves flexible working hours, part-time work, variable year employment, part year employment, remote working, job sharing, and phased retirement.
With the entry of millions Generation Y into the workplace, organizations have to change their workplace according to the new generation. For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn’t really exist (Trunk 2007). With tremendous options instead of instant employment after graduation, the Gen Y is pressuring organizations to consider about work-life balance.
There are all kinds of organization today that have a structure between mechanistic and organic. However, they all slightly incline to a certain structure; from very organic organization like Zappos to a more mechanistic one like McDonald’s. This case study will look into mechanistic and organic organizations, how flexible work arrangements flourished, advantages of the flexibility and how to ensure productivity of working from home.
1. Explain the terms organic and mechanistic in relation to organisations.
Organic organisations are most often found in dynamic and uncertain environments. Nevertheless, they are more complex and harder to structure. Their rules and procedures tend to be few, are defined broadly, loosely, and are often informal.
The Salvation Army is an example of an organic structure. The organisation does not have a complex structure although its branches are located worldwide. It encourages its members to take on new challenges. Besides, the Salvation Army does not depend extensively on written rules. Hence, the procedures can be created that suit various situations. The Salvation Army is a symbol of organic organisations as it is able to handle new tasks and to accomplish its mission no matter it faces any occurrences (CliffsNotes.com 2011).
On the other hand, a mechanistic organisation is most frequently found in stable environments. It is relatively simpler and easier to organise, although it will face difficulty in dealing with fast changing environment. It is quite similar to bureaucratic structure. They have the characteristic of centralised authority, formalisation of procedures and practices, and functions and tasks which are specific and specialised (BusinessDictionary.com 2011).
A real-life example of a mechanistic structure will be a university. The university entrance and registration procedures are very rigid and formal. This is to ensure that the university can handle a great number of students in an unbiased and fair manner, although most students will dislike about the procedures. However, it is very time-consuming and tends to slow down the overall process (CliffsNotes.com 2011).
Compare and Contrast
Organic and mechanistic organisations do not have any similarities as they oppose with each other. Organic organisations have a low formalisation, which means fewer limitations on the activities of the employees (Fox 2007, p. 27). Unlike organic organisations, mechanistic structures are highly formalised. Most of all the processes and procedures have been administratively authorised. Such formalisation is driven by efficiency (Hofler 2011).
Organic organisations are usually flat organisations as they tend to have relatively wide spans of control. Nevertheless, mechanistic organisations are usually tall organisations as they incline to have relatively narrow wide spans of control. Spans of...