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Formal Organizations Wendy Whiting Blome, LICSW, PhD

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1 Formal Organizations Wendy Whiting Blome, LICSW, PhD
National Catholic School of Social Service Fall 2010

2 What is a formal organization?
…collectivities of people, with a high degree of structure, working together to meet goals (Hutchison, 2008, p. 409) All organizations must: define objectives, hire staff willing to work towards goals, control the contributions of staff, get resources from environment, dispense products or services, and work with environment

3 Organizations are Everywhere…
In what organizations do you participate? Have you ever thought about how the structure of the organization affects the functioning of the organization? How might the structure of the organization affect client outcomes?

4 Leavitt’s Diamond Model of Organizations
From: Scott, R. (2003). Organizations: Rational, natural, and open systems—Fifth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall/Pearson Inc, p. 18.

5 Organizational Theories
Rational system theories Ideal-type bureaucracy Scientific management Natural system theories Human relations Open system theories Contingency

6 Rational System Theories of Organizations
Max Weber—proposed bureaucracy as the most efficient organizational form Focused on internal structure of organization—not the environment

7 Ideal-type Bureaucracy
Formal rationality—there is ‘one’ best way to organize Clear hierarchy; chain of command—worker to supervisor to manager to administrator For greatest effectiveness, communication follows hierarchy Division of labor Merit based recruitment Record keeping important to document actions No organization will meet the ideal-type 100% Organizations will vary in how they implement components

8 Scientific Management Theory
Frederick Taylor—established during pre-industrial period; problems of unhealthy work environments; child labor Question: how can scientific methods be applied to the work place? “Enlightened capitalism”—how can work be structured so it is more efficient? Analyze tasks—which produce maximum output for minimum input of resources Managers use data, not arbitrary decision making; are ‘fact finders’

9 Scientific Management (cont)
Taylor believed labor and management have compatible interests—work at peak efficiency for top wages Believed man was rational and would make economic choices based on the degree of monetary reward offered Rational approach to organizing tasks from the ‘bottom up’ Change individual tasks to change larger structure of the work Mass production—simplify work of each person; enforced inspection oriented rather than prevention oriented approach Ignored human component—boredom, sense of completion, self determination

10 Scientific Management (cont)
Given credit for developing principles of management including: Clear delineation of authority and responsibility Separation of planning from operations Incentives for workers Management by exception Task specialization Criticism—assumes workers are motivated by money alone In social services more agencies are tracking ‘billable hours’; have incentive systems for workers—ex: SW gets bonus if exceed billable target for the month Environmental (remember Leavitt) demands from 3rd party payers—organizations are dependent on the resources, so they will organize the work accordingly

11 Natural Systems Theories of Organizations
Developed in response to concerns about rational system theories Recognized the ‘irrational’ aspect of organizations Difference between ‘stated’ and ‘real’ goals of organizations Examples?????

12 Human Relations Model Hawthorne effect—Rational theories did not explain why effectiveness and efficiency increased Elton Mayo and others recognized the importance of human interaction in organizational studies Emphasis on informal structures within organizations

13 Human Relations (cont)
Assumes organizational effectiveness needs congruence between goals of the organization and the personal needs of the workers Views people as having an inherent desire to work and can exercise self control and self direction if they are committed to the goals of the organization Democratic style, confidence of leaders in subordinates Difficulties with model: social service organizations lack clear service technology

14 Open System Theories of Organizations
Maintenance of boundaries and cross boundary transactions are important All systems are part of larger systems

15 Builds on Systems Concepts
Input-conversion-output processes Input processes—all open systems draw from the environment raw materials needed to achieve goals and maintain existence Conversion processes—resources are processed in keeping with the system’s purposes; the work the system does to achieve its goals Output processes—results of the conversion process are returned to the environment, these output resources may in turn become raw material for another system within the environment

16 Example…. What is the ‘input’ for a mental health clinic?
What is the ‘conversion process’ for the clinic? What is the ‘output’ of the clinic? The ‘output’ of the clinic is the ‘input’ of what other organizations?

17 Organization—in—Environment
Contingency theory is the organizational version of the person-in-environment approach Social work builds on the importance of viewing a person within an environmental context What does that mean when looking at organizations?

18 Contingency theory Used in organizational management—‘It depends’ model No one best way to organize—depends on the nature of the environment If organization’s internal features best match the demands of the environment the organization will thrive

19 Contingency Theory (cont)
Design of organization must ‘fit’ organizational strategy and structure Look at the ‘fit’ between the manager and the organization and the environment Significant work by Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch

20 Example…..Beacon Center
What was the ‘fit’ between the organization founder, Martha Green, and the environment? When Helen Blue became director had the organizational environment changed? The organization had two more CEOs—what type of leader should the Board be looking for now?

21 Mechanistic—Organic Continuum
Contingency theory looks at the continuum from mechanistic to organic organizations

22 Mechanistic…. Job highly specialized; separated into discrete tasks
Supervisor assigns and directs work Hierarchical structure Communication top down Decisions made high in organization Mechanistic systems manage the process

23 Organic.... The more varied the environment the more differentiated the structure Focus of work is on results Responsibility is delegated Teamwork is emphasized Project teams adapt to needs—fluid structure Information is shared Organic systems manage the results

24 Examples…. Social service agencies can be found all along the mechanistic—organic continuum Where does your agency fall?

25 Applying Contingency Theory
Northouse article—using contingency theory to analyze leader—organization match Leader—member relations: confidence, loyalty felt for leader Task structure: level of structure of each task and how it is monitored—from highly to minimally structured Position power: amount of authority a leader has to reward or punish—pay raises, promotions, fire staff

26 Contingency model…. Questionnaire asks people to identify their ‘least preferred coworker’ High score=relationship motivated Low score=task motivated Read chart (p. 111) from top to bottom—good leader-member relations; high structure, strong power—low LPC score would be effective Not all leaders are effective in all situations

27 Exercise…. Look at Northouse page 121, Case 6.2
What kind of leader-member relations exist? What level of task structure? What kind of position power? Given a LPC of 44 would you anticipate problems or success for this leader?

28 Summary…. Social work is conducted in organizations
The structure of organizations influences the success of staff and the outcomes for clients Social workers are part of organizations and are responsible for assuring organizations function effectively and efficiently

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