Modern Organisations by Amitai Etzioni

Topics: Organization, Organizational studies, Management Pages: 15 (5204 words) Published: September 21, 2009

Book Review - Bhushan Indravadan Jangla

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ORGANISATIONS DEFINED Organizations are social units deliberately constructed and reconstructed to seek specific goals. Corporations, armies, schools, hospitals, churches, and prisons are included; tribes, classes, ethnic groups, friendship groups and families are excluded. Organizations are characterized by: 1) Divisions of labor, power, and communication responsibilities, divisions, which are not random or traditionally patterned, but deliberately planned to enhance the realization of specific goals. 2) The presence of one or more power centers which control the concerted efforts of the organization and direct them toward its goals; these power centers also must review continuously the organization’s performance and re – pattern its structure, where necessary, to increase it efficiency. 3) Substitution of personnel i.e., unsatisfactory persons can be removed and others assigned their tasks. The organization can also recombine its personnel through transfer and promotion There are many synonyms for the term, organization. like bureaucracy, but it has two disadvantages. First, bureaucracy often carries a negative connotation for the layman. Second, bureaucracy implies that the unit is organized according to the principles specified by Weber, which is not the case with many organizations. The book follows the definition of organizations as social units that pursue specific goals, which they are structured to serve, under some social circumstances. Therefore, the book has three foci: organizational goals; organizational structure; and organizations and their social environment. THE NATURE OF ORGANISATIONAL GOALS An organizational goal is the desired state of affairs, which the organization attempts to realize. The organization may or may no be able to bring about this desired image of the future. But if the goal is reached, it ceases to be a guiding image for the organization and is assimilated to the organization or its environment. The real goals of the organization are those future states toward which a majority of the organization’s means and the major organizational commitments of the participants are directed, and which, in cases of conflict with goals, which are stated but command few resources, have clear priority. How goals are set: there are many factors that enter into the struggle to determine an organization’s goals. Organizational departments or divisions often play a prominent role in the process. Personalities are another important determinant. When a strong leader has established himself in the key position of president or executive – director, it is very difficult to unseat him. The danger of ‘over – measurement”: Organizations are constructed to be the most efficient and effective social units. The actual effectiveness of a specific organization is determined by the degree to which it realizes its goals. The efficiency of an organization is determined by the amount or resources used to produce a unit of output. Measuring effectiveness and efficiency raises several thorny problems. When an organization has a goal, which is limited and concrete, it is comparatively easy to measure effectiveness. But when we come to organizations whose output is not material, statements about effectiveness are extremely difficult to validate. The same problem attends measuring efficiency and such related concepts as output, productivity and costs. The distortion of goals that arises from over – measurement of some aspects of the organizations output to the detriment of others is a larger category of distortion that arise in the relations of organizations to their goals. Distortions due to over measurement are comparatively mild, since the main goals of the organization remain intact, though certain aspects of these goals become over – emphasized at the expense of other sometimes more important ones....
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