Organization Design: A Situational Perspective

Lorsch, Jay W.
September 1977
Organizational Dynamics;Autumn1977, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p2
Academic Journal
This article analyzes an organization design using a situational theory. The term situational means that what are appropriate behavior patterns in an organization depend on the environment that confronts the organization and on the personalities of its members. Because organization design is an important means of influencing the pattern of behavior in an organization, it follows that what is an appropriate organization design also depends upon the nature of the environment and the personality of the members of an organization. Organization design like many managerial terms has taken on several different meanings. An organization design is a formal and explicit attempt to indicate to organization members what is expected of them. While the focus of the article will be on these organization design elements, they are not the only ways managers communicate their expectations. Clearly, they do this through their own personal actions and contacts. The traditions or culture of an organization also consist of implicit messages about how members should behave. These, in turn, have a major impact on how people think and act. Thus, the emphasis on organization design stems from organizational theories and experiences that can assist managers in various organizational decisions.


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