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Ch2 - Organizations as Machines by Mind Map: Ch2 - Organizations as Machines
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Ch2 - Organizations as Machines

From Frederick the Great to the Industrial Revolution

By the early 1900s, "new" thinking was all about machines

The metaphor is still prevalent

Unity of Command

Scalar Chain

Span of Control

Staff and Line


Division of Work

Authority and Responsibility

Centralization of authority


Subordinate individual interest to organization interest


Stability of tenure of personnel

Esprit de corps

Frederick Taylor - Scientific Mgmt

Shift all responsibility for the organization of work to the manager

Use Scientific methods to achieve efficiency

Select the best person to perform the job

Train the worker to do the work efficiently

Monitor performance to ensure procedures are followed and results are achieved

The idea that there is a "best" or "ideal" way to do anything

McDonald-ization of society: There is a perfect hamburger and through scientific analysis you can figure out how to produce it in a standardized, repeatable way

Taylor's time & motion studies -- observation & measurement of details results in control


Can be effective in highly controlled situations and over short time spans

Everyone "knows their place" - clarity of role

Great for creating standardized, repeatable processes


Metaphor breaks down when you try to mechanize human relations

Discourages initiative, leading to apathy & carelessness

Does not address complex and unpredictable environments adequately

Assumes single ideal solutions exist

Requires strong power imbalance to work


How do you come to the right balance of structure and freedom in an organization?

Orgs need to balance results, process, and relationships

Ed attempted to build behavior into procedures @ nuclear facility -- it became tedious.

Moved to a teamwork model, which worked for a while, then work started to get sloppy

Now doing a combination of teamwork + removing uncertainty by scripting response scenarios, Danger: over-scripting can produce too controlling an atmosphere and dampen creativity

Highly team-oriented orgs

Sometimes need to pull in mechanistic thinking to help balance the culture and create repeatable processes