Publication date (electronic): 30 September 2015
Coopting formal and informal structures:
Organization structuring from the perspective of complexity theory
Kajari Mukherjee is an Associate Professor of OB&HRM at Indian Institute of Management Indore. She is M.Sc. (Mathematics), PGDRM from IRMA, Anand and PhD from Tata Institute of Science (TISS). She is one of the twelve senior managers of India selected for Chevenning scholarships (UK) in 2004. She has authored books on complexity theory, corporate governance and leadership. She also has case studies, conference papers and other writings to her credit. Her area of research is application of complexity theory in management and mandatory corporate social responsibility (mCSR). Prior to joining academics, she spent over two decades in industry, both in public and private sector. She consults in areas of change management, HRM process design and corporate social responsibility.
Structuring process—organizing to get things done and achieve results—is considered to be one of the most potent component in strategy realization. Structure connects and weaves together all aspects of organization’s activities, its external and internal contexts, so that it functions as a complete dynamic entity. With changing business landscape, companies are struggling with novel forms of organizing. This study aims to fill the arena of void around study of organizational structure. Nonlinear dynamic properties of any system, falling under the hubris of complexity science, suggests structural options that embraces both explicitly mandated formal structures as well as emergent informal structure. Using qualitative research methodology, the study is grounded to the field—a content creating firm in entertainment industry. Seven distinct stages of transformation process are evinced in the process of creating content, as nature of raw material changes from its unsophisticated and/or untampered mode to content fit for monetization. These were mapped in Information (I) space. The grounded theory substantiates that extent of codification in information about raw material and/or work process will drive the structure, and that the organization design that gets generated is a fine balance between hierarchical, bureaucratic structure and self-organized form, each with preponderance across time and space based on distinctive stage of transformation process of raw material. Study argues that such organization structure subsumes both formal and informal ways of working with a fine balance between bureaucratic and self-organized forms. Actual organization structure depicts the messiness of how real organization actually works.
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