Choosing Your Industry: Organizational Structure

I just finished my first week of my MBA! Ahhhhh so exciting! Even though I am only going to school part-time, the program is still very demanding. Based on what I’ve learned so far, I thought that this is a good place to start when trying to decide what industry or even company you want to go into first.

Organizational structure and company culture are very important when it comes to overall job satisfaction. A good organizational/culture fit is just as important as team fit, or job fit.

An organizational structure defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated. (Langton, 20180301, p. 458)

Langton, N., Robbins, S., Judge, T. A. (20180301). Organizational Behaviour, 8th Edition. [[VitalSource Bookshelf version]]. Retrieved from vbk://9780134861050

There are different elements that go into classifying various structures but I will simplify it so it can give you an idea of what you can look for when applying for jobs. Different combinations of the different elements of the organizational structure gives rise to different models. Two common models are the Mechanistic Model and the Organic Model (Langton et al.).

In a Mechanistic Model, also known as a bureaucratic structure, the processes are highly standardized, highly formalized and a lot of managerial hierarchy. This is similar to manufacturing companies where there is a clear chain of command, a lot of standardized procedures and little to no wiggle room for any deviations. The jobs are very formal and have a clear outline of what to, and what not to do.

On the other hand, and the opposite extreme, we have an Organic Model where the organization is quite flat, no direct supervisors, teams are fluid and allows for cross-work. This type of model is more commonly used in innovation companies such Google and Apple.

Companies will have a mix of the two depending on what department of the company you may be in. Can you imagine if Apple had no chain of command or if pharmaceutical manufacturing companies had no project managers that brought teams together?

So how does knowing this help you decide what industry or even company you want to go into first?

Know Yourself

I cannot stress this enough. I have made and mentioned this in most of my blog posts, I’m Just in High-School, How Do I Start? and Picking Courses Strategically, you need to know who you are. If you don’t like dealing with ambiguity, then an organic structure could be challenging for you. If you find it mind-numbing to do that same things over and over again, then a mechanistic model may be boring.

When you are doing your research for a job, or for an interview, take a look at the structure of the company or department you are entering. Ask your interviewers what type of team structure do they have? How is it like for “upper management”, IS THERE an upper management?

Organization structure does not equal culture. Let me make that clear. The culture of the company is unique to the company. Some companies prefer a team based culture where everyone works together, some companies may even structure themselves to allow for competition, ex. sales. Organic companies may foster teamwork but that doesn’t mean that mechanistic companies cannot do the same. However, knowing the structure can help you make decisions if the work environment is even something that your personal work style matches with.

Like I said it’s only my first week but there is still a lot to learn and share! I hope this info is a good starting point for you when you are just starting to look for what you might want. Good luck!

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