The Environmet of Organisations

Topics: Organizational studies, Organization, Organizational culture Pages: 9 (2577 words) Published: June 21, 2013
|In submitting this assignment, I certify that all this material is my own work, | |except where I have indicated otherwise with appropriate references. |

|Title: Select four of the Workfile sections. Review critically the extent to which the theory and concepts presented inform | |your understanding of the organisation for which you work (or one you are familiar with). Your response should not exceed | |2,000 words. Include full bibliographic details of all work you consult or reference. |

In this assignment the degree to which the theories presented within the sections of; the environment of organisations, the design of organisations, working in groups, and contrast and change will be critically reviewed in terms of assisting my understanding of Network Rail and the Fixed Telecoms Network (FTN) project[1]. There is some overlap between sections due to the interrelatedness of the subject matter and these are referenced accordingly.

The Environment of Organisations
The contingency theorist Mintzberg identified four environmental factors; stability, complexity, diversity and hostility that impact on organisations, and realistically each of these can be viewed as a continuum. When examining these in relationship to Network Rail, the organisation can be described as a mechanistic “professional bureaucracy” as it operates in a reasonably stable environment that it has the ability to influence. The market place is specialised (rail) and in line with Mintzberg’s third hypothesis[2] Network Rail does not organise itself in business units.

At face value, Mintzberg’s five hypotheses seem to only explore the influence of the environment on the organisation and not the reverse. When Network Rail took over from Railtrack in 2003, the environment of the rail industry was aggressive and un-cooperative. There were contractors and sub-contractors vying for work, cutting corners and not fulfilling their duties. The formation of Network Rail changed the environment through a restructuring exercise which brought in-house all formerly sub-contracted rail maintenance. In bringing the former maintenance contractors in-house, which could be seen as centralising, the market hostility was reduced, as highlighted by Mullins (2005: 909) “an organisation can only perform effectively through interactions with the broader external environment of which it is part”. Today, there are still resistant contractors however as Network Rail is now such a large client, it cannot be as ‘bullied’ as it was when it was Railtrack; a small client trying to manage a series of large organisations.

Whilst Network Rail is susceptible to the pressures of the rail environment, due to its size[3], it is arguable that in a micro sense, as being part of the nation’s rail transport industry it creates its own environment, or at least has its own gravitational field within that environment. Pressures and constraints arise from a variety of sources, however as a not for dividend organisation, it does not have the same commercial pressures that a private company has.

PESTLE analysis can be used to understand the nature of the rail environment and generally helps identify the key issues, however one factor which differs for Network Rail is the relationship with government. According to the PESTLE analysis framework diagram, political influence is not considered the highest influencing factor, but for Network Rail, it is arguable that it is, due to the reliance on network grants and the regulatory role of the Office of Rail Regulator (ORR) (see appendix 1). Furthermore, Rollinson describes the government as the only body that can make, change or abolish laws, therefore it “establishes the rules of the game for many organisations” (2008: 36). If this is the case, it is arguable that for an organisation to...

Bibliography: Beardshaw, J. & Palfreman, D. (1990), The Organisation in its Environment (4th edition). London: Pitman Publishing.
Buelins, M., Van Den Broeck, H., Vanderheyden, K., Kreitner, R., Kinicki, A. (2006), Organisational Behaviour. London: McGraw-Hill
Clark, P
Easterby-Smith, M., Burgoyne, J, and Araujo, L. (editors) (1999), Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization; Developments in Theory and Practice. London: Sage Publications.
Galbraith, J R. (1977), Organization Design. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company
Handy, C
Jones, G. (2007) Organizational Theory, Design, and Change (5th edition). Pearson Prentice Hall
Kramer, D & Neale, M
Mullins, LJ. (2005), Management and Organisational Behaviour (7th edition). London: Pearson Education.
Pheysey, D. (1993), Organizational Cultures, Types and Transformations. London: Routledge.
Rollinson, D. (2008), Organisational Behaviour and Analysis; An Integrated Approach (4th edition). London: Prentice Hall Financial Times.
Manfred Kets De Vries (1999) High-performance Teams: Lessons from the Pygmies. Organizational Dynamics, Vol 27, No 3 (Winter)
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