The organic organization is defined as an organizational structure where all the employees are placed at equal levels. In this type of flat structure, the interactions, as well as communication, is horizontal by nature. The organic organizations are considered complex because they are a bit difficult to form.
What is organic organization?
The organic organization is considered flexible and adaptable, and this is why most suitable where the external environment is unpredictable and tends to change very quickly. It is operated by a network of individuals who are multi-talented and thus can efficiently perform several tasks when needed.
The organic organization is all about teamwork as the organization encourages group leadership. It means that now several people are entrusted with leadership qualities. It is now the responsibility of the group and not a single individual to handle and manage the rest of the employees.
The best thing about the organic organization is that it takes into account the ideas of the employees so that they can feel a part of the system. It acts as an incentive for better efficiency, productivity, and cooperation.
The power in an organic organization is decentralized, and there is a lot of informal and formal participation during the decision-making process. Boundaries do not bound the knowledge it solely resides with anyone who wants to use it for the welfare of the organization.
Organic organizations are also known as
- Open organization
- Organismic organization
Characteristics of organic organization
The characteristics of the organic organization are as follows-
- Broadly-defined jobs
- Interdependence amongst units and employees
- Employee initiative
- Easy communication
- Few and broadly defined regulations, rules, processes and procedures
- Interactive and group employee participation during decision-making and problem-solving
The advantages of an organic organization are as follows-
- Flexible approach – An organic organization has a flexible approach that can quickly meet the changing demands of the customer and the financial environment. Flexibility is a benefit for organic organizational structure as it emphasizes on specialized jobs. The best thing is that these jobs are not rigid and can change if a new requirement is needed at any moment.
- Free flow of information – An essential advantage of an organic organization is the free flow of information within the organizational structure. This is possible because of the two-way communication channel where top-level management offers instructions, information, and guidance to their subordinates who in return, can provide their perspective to the seniors. The employees can also provide due information to the management about the problems they are facing and even talk about their achievements freely. This two-way street is a blessing as it brings smoothness in the workflow and helps in solving any relevant issues in the workplace
- Responsive and teamwork – Organic organization is responsive by nature. The structure puts its emphasis on teamwork, and this is why the work is divided into various groups based on its general nature. A team with a diversified set of skills and knowledge is entrusted with each unit or group of workers. All the assigned members then work together to accomplish the common goal of the project.
- Decentralized authority – An organic organization has a decentralized authority where the power is shared. It encourages the participation of employees in the decision-making process from top to lower levels in the organization. Managers and senior leaders invite subordinates for suggestions, ideas, and information so that they can make viable decisions. When all the members are involved in the process, then its implementation will also be smooth and effective.
- Fluid workforce – The workforce of an organic organization is fluid, and this means most of the employees can easily effectively handle various jobs. It is a fluid workforce that ensures a wide span of control in the organization. As team members are experts in their field and knowledgeable about their area of expertise, they work independently and responsibly for completing the project. The specialized team performance does not need monitoring, micro-managing, and close supervision. Simple guidelines and instructions are enough to complete the job within the desired deadlines. It ultimately helps to minimize supervision costs.
- Face an unstable environment – An essential advantage of an organic organization is its ability to cope in an unstable environment. Work is organized as well as reorganized around teams to suit requirements. This redefinition of tasks and people is done to meet the changing environment successfully.
- Feeling of ownership – The employees of an organic organization are involved in both problem-solving and decision-making processes. It helps to boost their level of commitment and motivation and encourages the feeling of ownership towards the company
- Increases the level of efficiency – In an organic organizational structure, the employees are trained to handle various activities simultaneously. They are empowered to make difficult decisions for the welfare of the assigned task. The employees at the lower or mid-level do not need the permission of higher authorities to handle various activities as they have been given the go-ahead to handle problems independently. This gives them a feeling of self-confidence and results in an increase in efficiency level. It is a fact that when the efficiency level of the employees is high, it will automatically lead to high levels of organizational efficiency.
- Enhances creativity – The employees feel a part of the organization, and this encourages them to be more imaginative and creative.
- Provides relief to the manager – The organic organization supports decentralized power, and thus employees are given authority and responsibility for their jobs. The subordinate employees are allowed to work independently without any interference. The manager exercises only strategic control, as there is no reason for micromanaging. This is a tremendous relief to the people in senior positions like managers who get enough time to complete other important work like policymaking, planning and developing new strategies and processes for the growth and development of the organization.
The disadvantages of an organic organization are as follows-
- Creates confusion and uncertainties – As the employees are handy at several jobs, they might not have a specific role to play in an organic organization. Lack of a particular job profile and personal role and responsibility can create confusion and result in uncertainties
- Incomplete tasks – In some cases, the job is not even completed on time as everyone is waiting for the other person to complete it
- Lack of coordination – In an organic organizational structure, the work is allotted to various teams based on its general nature and the efficiency of the team members. A team works independently as it is fully responsible for the given task. In case there is disharmony in the team, it will be reflected in the job which will not be at par with expected or desired results.
- Vague decisions – The flexible structure of an organic organization can also result in instability and uncertainty in several cases. Sometimes it is reflected in the decisions which tend to be vague and complex. The organic organizational structure puts its onus on participation in the decision-making process. The higher-level managers invite people from other levels to share their views and ideas. The involvement of too many people can be disruptive in the same way as too many cooks can spoil the broth. Sometimes sharing opinions freely can cause conflict and misunderstandings that can create problems in the organization. This ultimately results in a loss for the company
- Communication issues – Too much information can cause more harm than good and result in communication issues if not controlled at the onset
- Spoil relations – Members of a team have to create a bond to work in tandem with each other. It is a team performance that helps to meet deadlines and complete projects effectively. In the case of misunderstandings amongst the members, the whole team is affected, and it can quickly spoil human relations.
- Conflict in units – There could be communication problems between departments because each one has its own rules, and this might not be in tandem with the other group and result in conflict and disharmony. Conflict can also arise in an organic organization when one department defines policy, and another department does not understand the message that is being conveyed as every unit is working independently
- No set boundaries – As there are no set boundaries about the rules, regulations, etc. it is easy to change, influence and adapt as per personal convenience. It can cause severe repercussions for the organization.
- High administrative costs – In an organic organization, most of the members are functional specialists and experts in their field. In a team, you will generally find several employees who are experts in their areas. It is the company that has to bear the expenses of hiring so many experts in terms of salary and benefits that are usually higher than other employees. It creates high administrative costs that will lower the revenues of an organization. Moreover, this type of structure will prove harmful for small organizations that have limited funds and cannot hire experts at the drop of a hat to fill most positions
- Do not like interference – As most employees are governing themselves and their decisions, if a new leader for a specific project comes on-board and try to implement change even for the betterment of the company, it will not be received favorably by other members as they are habituated at self-governing and will not like interference from someone else.
- Difficult to control – In an organic organizational structure, there is very little thought and consideration for the working system. Teams are entrusted with assigned work, and it is the team that has ownership of that work. In case the members are unskilled or lack sufficient knowledge for that type of work, it will be difficult to control their performance and achieve desired results.
- Unpredictable working process – You will not find a set or predetermined standard for measuring your work progress in an organic organizational structure. Moreover, the rules of the game keep on changing to suit the team and changing environment. This makes it very difficult to predict the future working process and the progress the team has accomplished.