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The Professional Organization

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3. 6.3. The Professional Organization

According to Mintzberg, the professional organization is also very bureaucratic. The key difference between these and machine organizations is that professional organizations rely on highly trained professionals who demand control of their own work. So, while there is a high degree of specialization, decision-making is decentralized. This structure is typical when the organization contains a large number of knowledge workers and this is why it is common in places like schools and universities, and in accounting and law firms.

The professional organization is complex, and there are lots of rules and procedures. This allows it to enjoy the efficiency benefits of a machine structure, even though the output is generated by highly trained professionals who have autonomy and considerable power. Supporting staff within these organizations typically follow a machine structure.

The clear disadvantage with the professional structure is the lack of control that senior executives can exercise, because authority and power are spread down through the hierarchy. This can make these organizations hard to change.

4. 6.4. The Divisional (Diversified) Organization

If an organization has many different product lines and business units, one will typically see a divisional structure in place. A central headquarters supports a number of autonomous divisions that make their own decisions and have their own unique structures. One often finds this type of structure in large and mature organizations that have a variety of brands, produce a wide range of products, or operate in different geographical regions. Any of these can form the basis for an autonomous division.

The key benefit of a divisional structure is that it allows line mangers to maintain more control and accountability than in a machine structure. Also, with day-to-day decision-making decentralized, the central team can focus on "big picture" strategic plans. This allows them to ensure that the necessary support structures are in place for success.

A significant weakness is the duplication of resources and activities that go with a divisional structure. Also, divisions can tend to be in conflict, because they each need to compete for limited resources from headquarters. These organizations can be inflexible, so they work best in industries that are stable and not too complex.

If a company’s strategy includes product or market diversification, this structure can work well, particularly when the company is too large for effective central decision-making.

5. 6.5. The Innovative Organization ("Adhocracy")

The structures discussed so far are best suited to traditional organizations. In new industries, companies need to innovate and function on an "ad hoc" basis to survive. With these organizations, bureaucracy, complexity, and centralization are far too limiting.

Filmmaking, consulting, and pharmaceuticals are project-based industries that often use this structure. Here, companies typically bring in experts from a variety of areas to form a creative, functional team. Decisions are decentralized, and power is delegated to wherever needed. This can make these organizations very difficult to control.

The clear advantage of adhocracies is that they maintain a central pool of talent from which people can be drawn at any time to solve problems and work in a highly flexible way. Workers typically move from team to team as projects are completed, and as new projects develop. Therefore, adhocracies can respond quickly to change by bringing together skilled experts able to meet new challenges.

However, innovative organizations have challenges. There can be serious and frequent conflict within an organization when authority and power are ambiguous. Dealing with rapid change is stressful for workers, making it difficult for a company to find and keep talent. However, given the complex and dynamic state of most operating environments, adhocracy is a common structural choice, and it's popular with young organizations that need the flexibility it allows.

6.3. ábra - Figure 3.: Adhocracy(Source: Internet 1)

Mintzberg's classification is just one way of looking at the ways in which organizations are structured. Other relevant strategies include Milesand Snow's Organizational Strategies (Miles-Snow, 1978), Porter's Generic Strategies (Porter 1980, 2001), and The Greiner Curve (Greiner 1988). As there is no one "right" organizational structure, it is important to understand how structure relates to the variety of attributes in a company. Mintzberg gives us a useful description of common structures that are appropriate in different circumstances. As he himself has noted, none of these is necessarily ideal – nor should they be misinterpreted as such. Rather, they are very simplified versions of what exists in real life organizations all over the world. Looking at companies closely, one discovers just how common it is for a company to have a combination of elements from each structural type. What remains consistent is that in considering an organizational structure, management must always analyze the environment, assess internal needs and capacities, and then ensure that its structure properly suits its strategy and environment.

6. References

EU Commission (2012): White Paper on Food Safety.

Greiner, L. E. and Schein, V.E.(1988):Power and Organization Development: Mobilizing Power to Implement Change. Prentice Hall Organizational Development Series, FT Press.

Kowitt, B. (2011): Why McDonald’s wins in any economy. CNNMoney Online. August 23, 2011

Miles, R.E. - Snow, C.C. (1978):Organizational strategy, structure and process, New York, McGraw-Hill.

Mintzberg, H.(2001):Why I Hate Flying. Tales for the Tormented Traveler. New York, Texere.  

Mintzberg, H. (2000):Managing Publicly. Toronto, Institute of Public Administration.

Mintzberg, H.(1998):Strategy Safari. A Guided tour Through The Wilds Of Strategic Management. Harlow, UK, Pearson Education.

Porter, M. E. (1980):Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York: Free Press.

Porter, M. E. (2001): Strategy and the Internet. Harvard Business Review, 79(2): 62–78.

Internet 1: (accessed on 27 July 2012)

7. fejezet - 7. The concepts and dynamics of groups

It is hard to define when humans started to cooperate and work in groups. Obviously, from the very start of human being people tended to think in groups, since meeting individual needs requires social life. It has always existed, still little was known about the phenomenon’s nature until the novel sciences (economics, sociology, psychology, etc.) after the enlightenment started to analyze the characteristics of the human cooperative activity.

Today we are living in communities, groups exist even at work, recreational and leisure times, and community has a central role in life. To orient and prevail currently, nature of socialization seems essential, such as what I should face when joining a community, such as a social club, entering a new workplace, or even establishing a cultural association.  The group focuses on the social life, the permanent social interaction between group members assumes the internal communication, the perception of the individual, and upcoming and operating personal relationships, mutual preferences, created status and roles (Gyökér, 2004). Piros (2004) believes that the improvement of ability to cooperate, the skill to work in teams together with quality work performance are getting more and more important beside current expectations. The organization itself has a major role in the definition the managerial methods and leverages, and one of is the definition of working and operation of groups (Juhász, 2004).

1. 7.1. The concept of groups

There are very diverse approaches when trying to understand the meaning of the term „group”, a possible reason for that is the interdisciplinary of the subject.

  • According to Weick (1969) such procedures exist, which establish, upkeep and dissolve community activities and later define the work of organization and the method, by which procedures and the organization itself are realized. The definition of the organization or the group is done by envisaged objectives of the participants.

  • There is an approach where group is a social unit which is built up of individuals of different status and role relationship, the behavior of which is regulated by norms and values of the formation (Sherif, 1969).

  • In the understanding of psychology group may be constituted of any people, who have interactions, aware each other psychologically, they consider themselves a group (Dalton-Lawrence, 1970). Lawless (1972) emphasized interaction as a central nature of groups, which requires that an individuals behavior should influence the behavior of other members, and observations, beliefs, values and objectives must be shared.

  • Lewin (1975) believed that group is a dynamic, open system characterized by the relationship of the members and it is integrated into the larger whole of the society.

  • Group is also considered to be a psychological form of individuals, and it is the most important and ancient social formation from the point of view of the individual (Csepeli, 1997). These also form the basic units of organizations, the structure and hierarchy of which determine the structure and operation of the given organization (Berde, 2003).

  • Dienesné (2003a) defines the three most important natures of the groups: they are built up of two or more individuals, who have interactions, members have mutual objectives and personally influence each other, and a special “we” consciousness is developed during the operation.

2. Primary and secondary groups

Cooley (1909) defined primary and secondary groups. Primary groups mean such dominant relationship, which is the most elemental part of the human system of values. Primary group is usually the family of the individual, which is still the most important social formation, and most important element of social life (Internet 1). The members of primary groups live together, considering membership it is small, and members are connected by lineage or marriage. A most important nature is that members know each other, connect each other and practice mutual control. It is also characterized by intimate, face to face development of connection and cooperation (Cooloey, 1909). Relations of the secondary groups may be experienced mainly in the social life; those are less personal and have a more regulative nature. Operations of these are determined by formal rules, relationships internally are less personal, and members may do not know each other and lack any intimacy. They are developed consciously and have a larger membership. They may be considered as organizational products of social labor division (Csepeli, 1997).  

3. 7.3. Classification of groups- Group scale

A primary base for the differentiation of the groups is usually the scale. We may identify group of two (dyad), three (triad), four (quadrate) an even larger groups. A group, which has fewer members than 15 may be considered a small group. Where the membership is more than 15, these are usually regarded as large groups or communities (Berde-Dajnoki, 2007). The most frequently suggested scale of group is between 5 and 7 individuals, since benefits will be experienced at this scale and the drawback of the membership number is still relatively slight. The number may also depend on the function, the smaller number may be beneficial when realizing a task, and the larger number may be useful at problem solving groups (Dienesné, 2002).

The satisfaction of the members usually decreases with the increase of its number of members, results are personally less considered to belong to the individuals (Tosi et al, 1986). The increasing number strengthens the process of getting to the periphery, decreases the individual activity and amplifies inhibition. From the point of view of members small membership is beneficial, since the feeling of togetherness is stronger, absenteeism and social malingering is less frequent and typical (Katona, 2005). By increasing the membership a difference may experienced in parallel with it (Table 1).

7.1. ábra - Table 1: Changing nature of groups caused by the increase of the membership (based on  Dienesné, 2002.

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