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Reactions of organic and mechanistic organizations to environmental uncertainties

Both organic and mechanistic organizations react in some ways during moments of environmental uncertainty. These reactions are normally meant to ensure the survival and continuity of the organizations. The reactions are normally different although the targeted result may be the same (Burton & Obel, 2004). In moments of unclear or unstable conditions, organic organizations tend to allow the members to exercise more freedom and less emphasis is put on leadership channels. This is meant to ensure that anyone with an idea on how to deal with a new challenge is given the chance and space to move to the arena and solve the problem.

It is not possible to find junior employees of an organic organization taking long moments looking for permission to find out whether a certain task can be performed so as to solve a particular problem. They usually go forward and do it without much ado. Leaving that aside, organic organizations loosen their structures even more so as to ensure that the operations of the organization are not locked up in a complex maze. Swinging from job to job is encouraged and any problem encountered by one employee is easily solved by an employee from another area within

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the firm or organization.

This also ensures that when such important events such as meetings are meant to be held, it is not necessary to wait for one person to convene a meeting to solve an urgent problem. A junior employee can convene a meeting and use it as a platform to address an urgent problem. Besides the above, organic organizations normally react to uncertain conditions by ensuring that the rules and regulations of the organization are not used to limit the area of operation of any employee.

During this time, it is not uncommon to find employees disregarding some minor and sometimes major rules within the organization so long as the motivation or reason for disregard is the solution of a new problem that threatens the existence of the company. Personal responsibility on the part of the workforce is what guides their operational limits so as to ensure that the integrity of the organization is not in jeopardy. Far from the above, organic organizations are always open to picking up new human resources during times of uncertainties.

This is made possible by the less strict rules and the flexibility of the structure of organic organizations. The new workforce is always intended to assist in the solving of the new challenges that come with the uncertain operational conditions. Mechanistic organizations on the other hand react to environmental uncertainty in a different way compared to organic organizations. Freedom for the employees is always limited during times of uncertainty. The explanation for this is that caution has to be taken to avoid the risk of unguided action that can lead to unimaginable losses for the firm.

Thus it is not possible to find workers within the mechanistic organization doing anything that has not been sanctioned by the powers that be within the organization. Any move or action that is taken is always communicated from above and is expected to be carried out according to the specifications given. In addition to the above, mechanistic organizations tighten their structures during moments of uncertainty. They put serious emphasis on the model of administration as used in the firm with the goal of avoiding confusion and limiting shocks which in the long run is meant to minimize losses if any is to be incurred.

This is the time when all employees are advised to do things according to the chain of command and adhere to the principles that run the organization. Each individual is expected to do what is supposed to be done by him or her and nothing less is acceptable. To add to the above, in times of environmental uncertainty, mechanistic organizations make it clear to all its members that the rules and regulations of the organization are followed to the letter.

Extreme observation of this principle is stressed and errant behavior is usually punished. The reason for this is to ensure that nothing sort of the routine or ordinary occurs and this has the advantage of avoiding shocks on the side of employees which keeps their confidence in the firm intact during this time of uncertainty. At the end of the day however, innovativeness is limited and nothing new is brought out to assist in solving the problems emanating from environmental uncertainty.

Also, as opposed to organic organizations that can hire new staff in moments of environmental uncertainty, mechanistic organizations are not able to take up new human resources due to strict rules and a conservative operation mode. They are never willing to upset the leadership balance and the structural composition with the excuse of not being willing to create confusion with new workers whose work ethics and leadership style may shock the firm under the changed conditions.

4. 7 How organic organizations can adapt to environmental uncertainties

Organic organizations can adapt to environmental uncertainty by using the following criteria

(a) Positions and departments Here, organic organizations form departments and positions. For example someone dealing with a certain department is given his or her jurisdiction and the same applies to all the other departments. The end result is that there is a chain of relationships in an organization and there is coordinated response in case of a problem.

(b) Planning Organizations facing environmental uncertainty always plan. More intensity of planning is on organizations facing more environmental uncertainty.

LA Gordon and NK Narayanan in their book called Accounting systems, perceived environmental uncertainty and organization structure. An empirical investigation and Carla Mendoza and Pierre Laurent Bescos in their book entitled “An explanatory model of managers’ information needs: implications for management accounting,” European Accounting Review, Taylor and Francis Journals also emphasize the aspect of planning on the financial and accounting segment in the face of uncertainties (Gordon and Narayan, 1984)and (Carla and Bescos, 2001).

(c) Careful analysis of organizational history

Analysis of organizational history will assist the current managers of the company or firm to understand a number of beneficial things that can assist them deal with these turbulent environmental conditions. Through a careful analysis of the company’s history, past occurrences will be examined and times when unpredictable conditions prevailed will be identified. Upon the identification of such times, the responses given will be weighed and although they may not be the same, the managers will gain insight on how to behave in moments of uncertainty.

(d) Analysis of the conditions signaling uncertainty: This can be done through the analysis of the history of the company. The events leading to unstable conditions or generally environmental uncertainty such as unstable markets, fluctuations in commodity prices and swinging stocks are looked out for and this makes the management ready for any eventuality in a moment of environmental uncertainty.

(e) Formulation of possible uncertain or sudden events This will assist the firm prepare for possible responses in case one of the events already rehearsed for occurs.

For example a merger may be necessary if the market place becomes hostile for the firm and if the management prepares for a merger, when the condition eventually surfaces, it is handled with extreme care.

(f) Devising responses focusing on the worst-case scenario Focusing on the worst-case scenario means that the firm is able to handle any eventualities regardless of its magnitude. It is better to prepare for the worst and handle the less threatening when it comes since it wont be a problem, But think of handling the worst when you had actually prepared yourself for the least threatening situation.

It is possible that it will be overwhelming for you and you can’t manage.

(g) Diversification This is the spreading of wings in such a way that the firm handles a number of commodities or good s and services. The logic behind this is that when one production line gets into problems due to environmental uncertainty, the firms won’t entirely sink since the resources from the less affected sector will be able to support the adversely affected segment of the firm. A company that sells soap and at the same time produces clothes will not go under if the soap production business goes sour.

This is because the resources from clothes sales will come in handy in supporting the soap business. The same will happen when the clothes business is down and the soap business is doing well.

(h) Effective communication In moments of environmental uncertainty, the worst thing any human resource leader can do for a firm is to compromise communication within the firm. Proper communication during this time is important since it is the only way that proper coordination to solve the crisis can be carried out.

The channels of communication should be left open during moments of environmental uncertainty so that when a certain action is supposed to be taken by an employee, the message is passed to the employee within the shortest possible time. This means that technology must be embraced as far as communication is concerned and long chains of command be avoided ad they lengthen the period taken by information to reach the intended people.

(i) Purity of quality The principle of purity of quality is quite important in that it ensures that whatever that is dome is of the best possible standards.

Purity of quality can refer to the workforce as well as the goods and services produced by the organization. In the case of the purity of quality of the workforce, it is imperative that the organic organizations hire the best employees in the market in moments of environmental uncertainty so as to ensure that the required expertise is accessible to the form when it most needs it. It is not appropriate to face a problem with the unqualified workforce at hand. This has to cover both senior managers as well as junior employees.

But most importantly, employees who perform technical jobs like editing in the media, machine operators in industries and engineers are supposed to be the best the market can offer. The other area of purity of quality is on the side of the goods and services provided by the company. In moments of environmental uncertainty, it is very detrimental for the firm to invest in goods and services only for the goods and services to reach the market and be rejected by the buyers or consumers. This will add to the stress of the organization in moments of great crisis and can break the firm.

(j) Hiring of new staff This is crucial in that when a new problem faces the organic organization, it is only prudent that a professional who understands s the problem is brought on board. Business challenges keep on changing and more trained manpower keeps on pouring into the market. Thus it is only ideal that new staff be hired when new issues arise so long as the new staff possess skills in the area in question. (k) Adopting extreme flexibility, reducing the strictness on rules and regulations and giving employees more freedom and motivating them.

Extreme flexibility within organic organizations will make the firm or organization pick new management systems that match with the requirements of the times thus dealing with environmental uncertainty adequately by employing the best methods and practices. Reducing strictness on rules will enable the workers have a bigger area of operation thus getting the ability to device solutions to new problems arising from the new circumstances. Employer motivation will encourage hard work and dedication to the core values of the firm thus handling the environmental uncertainty with the required zeal.

It is not possible to have workers who are not motivated giving the best to the firm. Sund (2007), in her book entitled: Dealing with uncertainty: How hotel managers perceive and Interpret Environmental Changes points out lucidly that the ability of the hotel leaders or managers to adjust to new conditions is very helpful in dealing with new challenges.

(l) Shift in management system With their flexible nature, organic organization can easily take up a new management model that can fit the needs of the moment of environmental uncertainty.

There may be a time when a particular method of administration may prove to be inappropriate under unstable and hazy conditions and during such times, the best thing to do is to device a new system of management that allows for maximization of benefits which can lead to a non-complex ride through the period of environmental uncertainty. The focus of this new management system is always more acceptable and workable when all the members of the organic organization are involved in its formation.

This is followed by effective communication regarding the new changes to all members of the organization. . Adoption of a clear response can determine the outcome. This can include change in management system (Raynor, 2007).

4. 8 How mechanistic organization can adapt to environmental uncertainties Mechanistic organizations on their part will have to deal with environmental uncertainty in ways that are best suited to their management systems. Below are some of the ways in which mechanistic organizations can adapt to environmental uncertainties.

To start with, mechanistic organizations must stick to purity of quality if it is to adapt to environmental uncertainty. Given the rigidity of mechanistic organizations and the accompanying inability to take up new staff in moments of environmental uncertainty, it is quite necessary that at any one time when human resources are being hired for this type of organizations, the best in the market are picked. This will go along way in ensuring that problems associated with the unstable conditions are properly dealt with.

Waldman and Ramirez argue that leadership quality can affect success in terms of uncertainty whereby the best CEOs are expected to produce the best results for the company (Waldman and Ramirez ,2001). On the same note the quality of goods and services provided by these types of organizations have no room for average in terms of quality. They have to be the best since room for maneuvering is quite small in case the products are sub standard. Also, mechanistic organizations can adapt to environmental uncertainty by ensuring that the leadership oft the organization is not disturbed in moments of crisis.

Given their mode of management and the organizational structure, leadership stability in the midst of environmental uncertainty can assist the workers have confidence and this can keep their motivation at high levels and thus keep up optimum performance. Leadership shake-ups during environmental uncertainty will frighten the workers and thus worsen an already spoilt situation and this may lead to the collapse of the organization. Diversification also applies to mechanistic organizations as a way of adapting to environmental uncertainty.

The concept of producing or adding value to ore than one commodity will ensure that if one commodity goes down due to environmental uncertainty, the other commodity or service whose market rating is still of value comes in handy to meet the losses of the sinking commodity or service. Capitalization of just one segment of the market is quite dangerous in that if that one segment sinks, the organization sinks. Lobbying is also an effective method of adaptation to environmental uncertainty. Here, the owners of such firms lobby lawmakers for favorable regulations.

Formation of trade associations is another way of confronting environmental uncertainty. An example is the formation of the Association of Manufacturers in most nations of the world (Thijssen, 2004). Lastly, it is possible that leadership can be changed in moments of great environmental uncertainty so that new and appropriate leadership is brought in to deal with the new challenges. It is quite common to find that leadership change leads to improved conditions within an organization after it has experienced moments of hardship. This is because there are times when leadership fails and the only solution is usher in new leadership.

5. 0 Conclusion

From the foregoing, it is clear that the way in which both organic organizations and mechanistic organizations react to and adapt to uncertainties in their environments determines their ultimate success. The various reactions that are given by organic organizations as well as mechanistic organizations are important as shown above and the ability to adapt to the new or changed environmental conditions or circumstances is the key to the survival and success of the concerned organizations. The chances of survival and success of organic organizations are higher than the chances of survival of mechanistic organizations.

The underlying reason is the ability of organic organizations or firms or companies or institutions to change as dictated by circumstances as opposed to mechanistic organizations, which are rigid and follow routine schedules and operations that are outside the norm or routine end up disrupting the entire system. The ways that are ideal in helping the organizations adapt to environmental uncertainty include hiring new staff, diversification, observing the rule of purity of quality, flexibility and more freedom for organic organizations.

For mechanistic organizations, hiring new staff, purity of quality and diversification among others are important.


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