Types Of Organizations

What are the types of organizations? Human progress and advancement is derived from our ability to organize. Governments, family units, schools, businesses, hospitals, legal systems, and military all rely on organizational constructs. Organizational analysis is a subject of academic study for political scientists, economist, psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists.

The majority of human organizations fall into one of four categories. These four categories are: ecologies, matrix organizations, pyramids (also called hierarchies), and committees (juries). The basic idea behind ecologies is intense competition. In this form of organization people are rewarded for the work they complete. Those who complete more are given more work, and those that fail to achieve, cease to exist.

In a matrix organization, workers report to at least two different bosses. Leaders are broken into a minimum of two groups. The first group is in charge of a set, or multiple sets, of experts, and the second group is assigned projects. As an example, boss A is in charge of all engineers and researchers. Regardless of what projects these engineers and researchers are committed to, they report to boss A. Now, boss B is in charge of projects W and X, and boss C is in charge of projects Y and Z. Any of the engineers and researchers assigned to project W or X will also report to boss B, and those assigned to projects Y or Z will report to boss A and C.

A pyramidal or hierarchical organization is defined by one leader who exist at the top of a pyramid. This individual has several people below him or her. These individuals have several people reporting to them, and when the organization is drawn out as a diagram, it takes the shape of a pyramid. This particular type of organization is most associated with bureaucracy. Dr. Laurence J. Peter developed hierarchiology. This is the study of hierarchy. Dr. Peter is most notable for his origination of the Peter principle. The Peter principle states, ’employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.’ What this means. In an organizational structure that bases promotion on merit, members will eventually succeed to a position beyond their ability. Once they reach this level, they stagnate. Eventually, all positions of an organization will be filled with people too incompetent to perform their job. Although it sounds like more of a political cartoon than an academic theory, it is taken quite seriously by social and management sciences. The US military has implemented policies to force separation from service for officers who fail to promote within certain time frames. These policies are an attempt to counteract the Peter principle.

The last major type of human organization is a committee, or jury. This type of organization is when a group of peers come together to make a decision. This can be achieved through discussion and voting. The primary difference between a committee and a jury is in function. A jury is used to make a decision, and committee members are assigned to carry out projects and actions that have already been decided.

Beyond these four classifications, there are many different types of organizational theories. The most influential of these are: contingency theory, complexity theory, actor-network theory, enterprise architecture, critical management studies, scientific management, social entrepreneurship, transaction cost economics, and the garbage can model.