Evolution over the Past Century
Formal organizations are established in all societies and are particularly a feature of modern societies. They represent an extension of large social groups as they take on a more formal structure. One hundred years back, most citizens lived in tiny groups of family, friends, and neighbors, although in today’s society, lives revolve further around formal organizations. There is no doubt that formal organizations have changed immensely over the past century.
Along with the growth in size and the division of labor in society, there has also been a growth of formal organizations. Just as organizational characteristics of social movements vary, there is no predetermined model for the evolution of particular groups within them. The evolution of the classic hierarchical formal organization raises serious questions about the dominant conceptual model of bureaucratic authority on which formal systems of authority have been based.
A Weberian approach focusing attention primarily on the process of bureaucratization, initially dominated in the sociology of social movements as in other areas (Harris and Hartman, 2002). Although this paper mentions other formal organizations in general, it focuses on the modern corporation, because it appears to be in active evolution and exhibits a range of variations and innovations that can show fundamental aspects of organizational functioning. The needs of these organizations have grown more sophisticated and the business world has grown vastly more complex.
Many of the superior formal organizations of western civilization are traceable to the early Christian Church, the empire of Charlemagne, and the government of William the Conqueror. History restricted to these starting points suggests in the main that all existing formal organizations (be it governmental, religious or commercial in nature) have originated either in subdivision attendant upon growth, or by segmentation of existing organizations as a result of schism, rebellion, or revolution.
But back of these is also a long history of formal organizations extending into prehistoric times. What the actual origins were may be inferred only from what occurs now; and what the processes of growth may be similarly surmised. Each had their own structure, hierarchy, tasks, role and authority. Most observers believe that the beginning of the twenty-first century is a time of great change with respect to how formal organizations are developed and structured.
Now if contemporary formal organizations be examined, it will be found that they have originated by one another of four different methods, the first three of which applies particularly in the case of formal commercial organizations. Either they are spontaneous, or they are the direct result of an individual’s effort to organize, or they are infant bodies set off by an existing parent organization, or they are the result of segmentation of existing organizations caused by schism, rebellion, or the interposition of an external force.
The designs and structure issues of formal organizations have entered the popular lexicon in the past, with the growth of downsizing, continuous improvement, lean production, business process engineering and economic value-added operations, all of which, to the extent that they are part of the discourse of organizational evolution, frame formal organizations in structural terms. Early attempts to formulate appropriate organization form focused on determining the anatomy of formal organization. This so-called classical approach was built around four main supports: division of labor, functional processes, structure and span of control.
Over the past forty years, organizational theorists have been concerned with the formal structure of organization and the implications these structures have on decision-making and performance. Weber, for example, argued that hierarchy, formal rules, formal procedures, and professional managerial authority would increase efficiency (Blau and Scott, 2003). The mechanistic view of organizations was first adopted, but was subsequently replaced by the view stressing the human and social factors in work. Future Directions
Today, the design of formal organizations dictate how its people fit into the management system and what processes are being used to achieve the desired outcomes. As contemporary business organizations develop, they must find ways to coordinate their business functions (such as finance, manufacturing and marketing), its strategic business units, its research and development activities, with its structural orientation. Speculations on the future of organizations are many and varied, although there appears to be some common threads.
One theme seems to stand out, and that is, as structure has been vital for organizational discourse in the past, it is likely to remain so in the future. Formal organizations will get flatter by the year: this means that there will be fewer and fewer levels, less and less hierarchy. Moving from superior-subordinate relationships to the business as a whole revealed that the organizational structure of the classical firm had centralized decision making and control. The organizational form and structure is ultimately based on organizational mechanisms that rely heavily on individual contributors fro various disciplines within the organization.
It thus serves to reinforce development and performance and orchestrates changes as the business environment and strategic direction change. Therefore, the organizational structure as well as the function of the formal will continue to evolve as warranted by future developments. After all, businesses do not exist in a vacuum. Redesigning formal organizations is one of the ways (arguably one of the more strategic) in which organizational executives can intervene in order to mobilize behavior to attain desired goals.
In the end, the longevity of a formal organization depends on sustaining the capabilities of the people and growing their new knowledge and capabilities through experience and learning. Hence, many instances of future formal organizational design will include some measure of autonomy in order to elicit desired behavior and attitude. REFERENCES Blau, P. & Scott, W. (2003). Formal Organizations: A Comparative Approach. Standford, California: Standford University Press. Harris, J. & Hartman, S. (2002). Organizational Behavior. Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.Sample Essay of RushEssay.com