Basic Organizational Forms: A Second Look

The concept of basic organizational forms is useful to the analysis of an organization’s nature because it details how the fundamental structure of a company impacts its information processing and goal setting behavior. Identifying the difference between unified and multiplex modes of organizing, there are a number of basic organizational forms that have been established as capable of adding to a company’s ability to deal with raising information processing demands. The contrasts between these forms helps one to realize that different organizations will have to cope with the increasing need for information processing in varying manners. Making it possible for the organizational theorist to analyze how a company’s complex goals are formed by the manner in which its structures cause information to be processed. However, as times change, so to do the forms organizations take; meaning that this concept needs to be updated to remain a useful tool of analysis.

Under this concept, forms are distinguished between by analyzing the amount of task complexity, interdependence, and uncertainty present in the organization’s environment and the resulting differentiation and structural complexity. However, there is a need to add an extra level of analysis to more accurately distinguish between forms. The new level of analysis that is necessary to distinguish between accurately is the degree of innovation present in an organization. Using the degree of innovation present in an organization to distinguish between forms is important because the way companies use the information provided to them by the environment to evolve and reshape their structures differs significantly between companies. Meaning that how, and the degree to which, companies innovate in response to the market environment is important to identify to separate between forms accurately.

As Gary Pisano states, innovation deals with “the risk problem”(Pisano, 2010); meaning that the manner in which organizations innovate becomes important because it reflects a companies risk management behavior. Since “risk and benefit tend to be positively correlated across hazardous activities in the world”(Slovic, 2006) the way companies innovate to deal with risk in the “hazardous activity” of free market business operation can have a significant impact on the structures in a single organization. Meaning that to distinguish between forms well, how a company innovated needs to analyzed. The concept of basic organizational forms, as it is currently employed, performs a necessary task in the analysis of organizations. Yet, for this concept to be remain a useful tool it needs to be updated to deal with current market issues. As a result, innovational analysis needs to be added to the levels of identification used to distinguish between different organizational forms.


Pisano, Gary P. “The Evolution of Science-Based Business: Innovating how we Innovate.” Industrial and Corporate Change 19.2 (2010): 465-82. Print.

Slovic, Paul, and Ellen Peters. “Risk Perception and Affect.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.6 (2006): 322-5. Print.


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