Organizational design models

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Organization design models present structure, characteristics, operation of existing or proposed object, providing knowledge, information and understanding (e.g., device model, a model of the economy, company model, system model). The word model is also used in sense of: description, structure, method, analog, abstract, theory.

Role of models in science

Models are created in various sciences, including the science of organization and management, and are the result of a process of abstraction. It is built up in order to focus attention on that which is most important, which has a significant impact on the specific process. Therefore, the model ignores the non-essential elements of reality.

Functions of business models

Models being a tool for understanding, has following functions:

  • reflectivity (reflection) - the essence of a phenomenon, analogy between the subject and the research model. The analogy provides a description of the object, its interpretation and explanation. There are two types of analogies: structural and functional. Structural analogy reflects the mutual relationships between parts of a whole, and the functional analogy represents behaviour of the modelled object,
  • experimental research tools - model replaces the test object and the model test results are transferred to the object. In experimental sciences, models are subject of research (replaces the real object) and the experimental tool (a means for understanding the object),
  • abstraction - This feature allows to simplify the test object, leads to the rejection of unimportant, random relationships - interactions,
  • communication - model is an important tool of communication, it has the ability to identify complex systems and present it in an intelligible and communicable form,
  • control - This feature makes it possible to identify and analyse deviations occurring in the operation of various systems.

Organizational models functions==In practice, there is a huge variety of models that can be classified according to the following criteria===Modeling objective=

  • cognitive models - are designed to test knowledge of reality. These models can be divided into descriptive study which constitute a description of reality and explanatory models of cause - effect phenomena occurring in the studied object (forecasting models),
  • decision making - are created in order to shape of reality and changing it,
  • design - they are designs of measures connected with the development and implementation of new objects

Nature of the analogy that occurs between the model and the object

According to this criterion there are following models:

  • substantial - which is a substrate or a set of elements making up the object,
  • structural - that is, presenting the structure of the relationships between the elements of the object,
  • functional - mapping operation, the behaviour of the object as a whole against external conditions,

Form in which the object is presented

According to this criterion there are following models:

  • descriptive - verbal image of the object, taking the form of instruction work-flow cards, scope of activities cards,
  • physical - they are constructed of sensory components (e.g., spheres, to scale mechanical systems) that are physically similar to the corresponding elements of the object. For example, the physical model can be used in the spatial organization of work processes (production floor plan, deployment plan in production departments within the company). Physical model may be so-called small-scale laboratory group.
  • graphics - symbolic model representation, in which the elements, relationships and properties of an object are shown graphically. For example, drawings used to instruct contractors,
  • mathematical - belong to the symbolic model, in which the elements, relationships and properties of an object are presented using mathematical characters, systems of equations and inequalities, which, for a selected set of parameters allow you to calculate the value of the criterion function,

According to model parameters over time

  • static - in such model parameters do not change ​​over time. They represent the organizational structure of the whole in the "cross-section" of the moment,
  • dynamic - parameters appearing in these models changes in time. Dynamic model gives a picture of each events taking place in the whole system in successive moments of time. This model maps the processes and their dynamics,
Fig. 1. The general model of the organization by H. Leavitt (1965)

Role of models

It should be emphasized the benefits of models is to facilitate the understanding of reality and simplify it, and therefore it is easier to use them than the actual objects. They can reproduce past and present, and are used to create the future.

A special type of model is a model of organization. This model presents simplified picture of organization, showing the basic pattern of organization of its components and material properties (attributes). Shows a subsystems of organization, and the relationships between them. Model allows managers to know the workings of the organization, shows that the organization is a complex system, and there are causal relationships between the components of the organization. The basic model is the model of organization proposed by H. Leavitt (picture 9.1).

Examples of Organizational design models

  • McKinsey 7S model: This model is used to analyze an organization's current situation and to help devise strategies for future growth. It was developed by Robert H. Waterman, Jr., Tom Peters, and Julien Philips of McKinsey and Company in the late 1970s. The 7S model is based on the premise that an organization is made up of seven key elements, all of which need to be aligned and mutually reinforcing in order for it to be successful. These are Structure, Strategy, Systems, Staff, Skills, Style, and Shared Values.
  • The Four Frame Model: This model was created by Gareth Morgan in 1986 and is based on the notion that all organizations have four distinct frames that need to be addressed in order to achieve long-term success. The four frames are the Structural frame, the Human Resource frame, the Political frame, and the Symbolic frame. Each frame offers a different perspective on the organization and how it works.
  • The Competing Values Framework: This is a model created by Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron which is based on the idea that organizations need to balance four competing values in order to be successful: Collaboration, Innovation, Consistency, and Effectiveness. The model suggests that each value must be present in order for the organization to reach its goals. This model is often used to help organizations identify areas of improvement and areas of strength.
  • The Five-Stage Model: This model was developed by Bruce Henderson in the late 1970s and is based on the idea that organizations go through five distinct stages of development in order to achieve long-term success. These stages are Emergence, Expansion, Control, Maturity, and Decline. The model suggests that organizations need to be aware of their current stage of development and make strategic decisions in order to progress to the next stage.

Advantages of Organizational design models

Organizational design models offer several advantages to organizations. These advantages include:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity - Organizational design models provide a structure for the organization, which makes it easier to identify and address inefficiencies in the system. This structure can also help to speed up processes and increase efficiency, leading to greater productivity.
  • Improved communication - Organizational design models can make it easier to identify and communicate the roles and responsibilities of each team member, as well as the overall structure of the organization. This clarity can help to reduce confusion and miscommunications.
  • Improved decision-making - Organizational design models provide a framework for the organization which allows for better decision-making. This structure can help to ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the organization as a whole, rather than in the interest of a particular individual or group.
  • Increased employee engagement - By providing a clear structure for the organization, organizational design models can help to engage employees. Employees will be more likely to understand their roles and responsibilities and be motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.
  • Reduced costs - By streamlining processes and increasing efficiency, organizational design models can help to reduce costs. This can lead to greater profitability and a healthier bottom line.

Limitations of Organizational design models

One of the limitations of organizational design models is that they are not always accurate in representing real-world organizations. Below is a list of limitations of organizational design models:

  • They are based on assumptions and models, so they may not always provide accurate information.
  • They may not take into account all the variables that influence an organization’s structure and behavior.
  • They may not be able to accurately predict the outcomes of certain decisions.
  • They can be difficult to interpret and apply to real-world situations.
  • They may not be suitable for organizations with different cultures or objectives.
  • They may not be able to predict the impact of external factors, such as market trends or technological advancements.
  • They can be difficult and time-consuming to develop and maintain.

Other approaches related to Organizational design models

Organizational design models provide a structure, characteristics, and operation of existing or proposed objects, providing knowledge, information, and understanding. Other approaches related to organizational design models include:

  • Process Modeling: Determines the sequence of tasks to be completed when engaging in a particular activity, such as a process for product development.
  • System Dynamics Modeling: A simulation-based technique to develop an understanding of the behavior of dynamic systems and predict the effects of changes.
  • Goal-Oriented Modeling: Focuses on the goals of the organization and develops strategies to accomplish those goals.
  • Complex Adaptive Systems Modeling: Examines how an organization’s environment affects the behavior of its components, and how the components themselves interact with each other and their environment.
  • Network Modeling: Examines the connections between various parts of the organization, such as the relationships between departments, teams, and individuals.

In summary, organizational design models provide a structure, characteristics and operation of existing or proposed objects, providing knowledge, information and understanding. Other approaches related to organizational design models include process modeling, system dynamics modeling, goal-oriented modeling, complex adaptive systems modeling, and network modeling.

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Author: Krzysztof Wozniak