The Organization as a Machine

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The Organization as a Machine

January 19, 2013

Table of Contents
Introduction3
An Organizational Machine3
The Organizational Functions3
Organizational Structure and Mechanistic Functions3
Strengths and Weaknesses5
Global Implications6
Conclusions7
References8

The Organization as a Machine
Introduction
The big picture is that many organizations function as machines, whether entirely or contained within business divisions within organizations. Morgan discusses eight areas within which we discuss the functionality of organization: as a machine; as an organism; a brain; its culture; its political system; as a psychic prison; change/in flux; and as an instrument of domination. An Organization as a Machine

Two examples of organizations functioning as a machine and classified as a bureaucracies are the federal government and the public education system in Delaware. As Morgan so aptly describes Max Weber’s comparison between “…the mechanization of industry and the proliferation of bureaucratic forms of organization.” (Morgan, 2006), the emphasis on …bureaucracy…emphasizes precision, speed, clarity, regularity, reliability, and efficiency achieved through the creation of a fixed division of tasks, hierarchical supervision, and detailed rules and regulations” (Morgan, p17). Speed, in this writer’s opinion, seems to be dependent on the situation, but government and the education industry especially, present excellent examples of bureaucracy at its best. Organizational Structure and Mechanistic Functions

Having been involved in the education industry for many years, this arena is discussed relative to its machine-like functionality and bureaucratic behaviors. A typical public school district is the example, as private and/or charter schools, although schools, function a bit differently…yet still use some of the bureaucratic procedures. The District Office governs public schools in Delaware. Within this facility, financing, human resources, and policy generation begins. Each district maintains a school board whose members the community within a particular district elects. Both the district office and the school board have sets of policies and procedures that they follow in order to enact business on a daily basis. The employees of a school district include a Superintendent (CEO), on down to the secretarial staff. Each school within the district has a principal, assistant principal, office staff, teachers, and students. The discussion of curriculum change will present one small piece of the puzzle relative to how a school district functions. One must keep in mind that at every move a school district makes, whether to hire a teacher, enroll a student, or a myriad of other activities occur on a daily basis, protocol must be followed. In order to implement something as fairly simple as a change in curriculum for any particular subject, hierarchy, and protocol is the order of the day. What would seem to be a straightforward task becomes bogged down in the bureaucratic procedures and weighs down the possible purchase and implementation of a new curriculum. Although this writer does not take the implementation of new curriculum lightly, the process is laborious at best. A department to their department chair must present data; this information moves forward to a curriculum supervisor (if one exists within the district) or the district office for review. If approved, the finances and implementation are then discussed. Although not necessarily speedy and/or efficient, most districts must follow this procedure. Once the approval for the curriculum is provided, the financing is then arranged. The finance discussion for any new curriculum does not occur until the approval for the curriculum is reached. This, in and of itself, is something that can shut down the purchase, yet in most cases, the available funding is not discussed...
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