Online Learning

Five ideas in the technology literature stand out The first is Woodward’s research into


Five ideas in the technology literature stand out. The first is Woodward’s research into

manufacturing technology. Woodward went into organizations and collected practical data on technology characteristics, organizational structure, and management systems. She found clear relationships between technology and struc- ture in high-performing organizations. Her findings are so clear that managers can analyze their own organizations on the same dimensions of technology and struc- ture. In addition, technology and structure can be co-aligned with organizational strategy to meet changing needs and provide new competitive advantages.

The second important idea is that service technologies differ in a systematic way from manufacturing technologies. Service technologies are characterized by intan- gible outcomes and direct client involvement in the production process. Service firms do not have the fixed, machine-based technologies that appear in manufacturing organizations; hence, organizational design often differs as well. E-commerce and f-commerce organizations present new service challenges.

The third significant idea is Perrow’s framework applied to department technol- ogies. Understanding the variety and analyzability of a technology tells you about the management style, structure, and process that should characterize that depart- ment. Routine technologies are characterized by mechanistic structure and nonrou- tine technologies by organic structure. Applying the wrong management system to a department will result in dissatisfaction and reduced efficiency.

The fourth important idea is interdependence among departments. The extent to which departments depend on each other for materials, information, or other resources determines the amount of coordination required between them. As inter- dependence increases, demands on the organization for coordination increase. Organizational design must allow for the correct amount of communication and coordination to handle interdependence across departments.

The fifth important idea is that new flexible manufacturing systems are being adopted by organizations and affecting organizational design. For the most part, the impact is positive, with shifts toward more organic structures both on the shop floor and in the management hierarchy. These technologies replace routine jobs, give employees more autonomy, produce more challenging jobs, encourage teamwork, and let the organization be more flexible and responsive. The new technologies are enriching jobs to the point where organizations are happier places to work.



2. Were organization design changes necessary to realize the advantages of the new technology?Explain, example


Five ideas in the technology literature stand out The first is Woodward’s research into