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Organizational Design, Diagnosis, and Development. Session 4 Technological considerations. Objectives. To review traditional concepts of technology To understand the relationship between technology and structure

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organizational design diagnosis and development

Organizational Design, Diagnosis, and Development

Session 4

Technological considerations

objectives
Objectives
  • To review traditional concepts of technology
  • To understand the relationship between technology and structure
  • To examine contemporary concepts of technology and their relationship to structure
  • To understand the role of technology in the process of organizational design
traditional concepts of technology
Traditional Concepts of Technology
  • South Essex studies - Joan Woodward
  • Task typologies - Charles Perrow
  • Task interdependencies - James Thompson
south essex studies
South Essex Studies
  • 100 manufacturing firms in South Essex
  • Data collected on:
    • Objectives of firm & background
    • Manufacturing processes
    • Organizational structures & processes
    • Organizational effectiveness (market share, profitability, general reputation, labor turnover, etc.)
modal technology types
Modal Technology Types
  • Unit: Production is designed to meet individual customer requirements. (Custom tailor, prototype equipment)
  • Mass: Standardized production on an intermittent basis, such as an assembly line or large batch like a bakery.
  • Process: production on a continuous flow such as a chemical plant, oil refinery.
overall findings
Overall Findings
  • Technological imperative: Structure varied with technology type. Woodward came to believe technology determined structure
  • Mass is more mechanistic
  • Unit and process are more organic
  • Hierarchy increases from unit to mass to process
technical complexity structure for effective firms
Technical Complexity & Structure for Effective Firms

Characteristics

Levels of management

Span of control

Ratio of managers to

personnel

High

Low

Unit Mass Process

technical complexity structure for effective firms8
Technical Complexity & Structure for Effective Firms

High

Characteristics

Ratios: 1. direct to indirect labor, 2. Manual to administra-tive staff, 3. Wages & salaries to total cost

Labor costs

Low

Unit Mass Process

technical complexity structure for effective firms9
Technical Complexity & Structure for Effective Firms

High

Characteristics

Span of supervisor

control

Separation of adminis-

tration from operation

Written communication

Control & sanction pro-

cedures

Specialization between

line & staff

Low

Unit Mass Process

technical complexity structure for effective firms10
Technical Complexity & Structure for Effective Firms

Characteristics

Verbal communication

Role ambiguity for jobs

Organizational flexibility

Skilled workers

High

Low

Unit Mass Process

slide11

Perrow’s Types of Technology

Exceptions Problems Technological Type

Few Easy to analyze Routine technology

Difficult to analyze Craft technology

Many Easy to analyze Engineering technology

Difficult to analyze Non-routine technology

slide12

Thompson’s Types of Technology

Technology Type Task Interdependence Integration

Mediating Pooled Standardization

(banks)

Long-linked Sequential Hierarchy of

(assembly line) Authority

Intensive Reciprocal Mutual

(hospital) Adjustment

slide13

Advanced Information Technology

  • The accumulation, storage, processing and transmission of data made possible by computers
slide14

Advanced Information Technology

  • Advanced Manufacturing Technology
    • Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing
  • Office Technology
    • Word processing
    • Communication (e-mail, fax)
    • Data bases, spreadsheets
    • Information storage and retrieval
slide15

Impact of Automation on Job Design

  • Manufacturing
    • Less skill on the shop floor
    • New jobs require skills in programming and electronics
    • Task lines blur between skill areas
  • Office technology
    • Initially some de-skilling
    • Ability to develop multiple skills in applications
slide16

Impact of Automation on Organizational Structure

  • Manufacturing
    • Flatter, more flexible structures
    • Increased need for coordination
    • Functional structures may be counter-productive
  • Office Technology
    • Flatter
    • Decentralized
backwards forwards
Backwards & Forwards
  • Summing up: Today’s session considered both traditional views of the impact of technology on design (Woodward’s technological imperative, Perrow’s routineness of task and Thompson’s interdependencies) and contemporary views derived from Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Office Technology.
  • Looking ahead: Next time we begin our exploration organizational differentiation, integration, & size