The basic systems model used in organizations is one that takes input, creates a transformation through a series of internal processes, and produces an output. However, whilst the different models being used today are still built around this fundamental concept, there have already been variations made to meet the needs of the organizations in the 21st century. This article discusses the four most commonly used models in organizations.
Galbraith’s Star Model of Organizational Design
The Star Model serves as the basis from which an organization creates design choices. It has five categories of design policies that can be controlled by management, and these are: strategy, structure, processes, rewards, and people.
- Strategy: This outlines the direction of where the organization is heading to, and consists of its goals, objectives, as well as the mission and vision.
- Structure: The organization identifies positions in the organization, and assigns them a degree of authority. Structure policies include: specialization, shape, power distribution, and departmentalization.
- Processes: This is in essence the functional aspect of the organization, divided into two parts: vertical and horizontal processes. Vertical processes are business planning and budgeting, whereas horizontal processes deals with management and workflow.
- Rewards: Motivation and incentive schemes are defined to regulate promotions, salaries, and bonuses, all of which should be congruent with all the other categories.
- People: These are policies involving human resources, such as recruitment, selection, training, and development designed to build the capabilities of the organization.
Organizational Adaptation Model
Organizations comprise of many complex systems, and there are certain learning processes that allow an organization to change and adapt in the competitive environment. Levinthal’s model of organizational adaptation states that these learning processes have two aspects-codifying past experiences, and responding to unique and novel situations. This model acknowledges the need for experimentation at the subsystem level and the organization as a whole should develop and nurture whatever discoveries and findings made by the subsystems. The organizational adaptation model was created on the belief that the people in the organization have the ability to be creative and diverse, and when given the opportunity to enhance such abilities through a series of experimentation and exploitation, they will have the capacity to change the direction of the organization in a positive way. Even today, Levinthal’s model continues to be one of the most highly accepted models among developed organizations.
Other Models of Organization Design
The Tricord model was developed by Simon Thane, and is used to provide balance in the organization. This model is all about achieving stability among the three dimensions of the Tricord, which is balanced from the central core. Thane explains that when one of these dimensions is not aligned with the rest, there will be a misalignment in the organization causing its employees to become dysfunctional, unproductive, unmotivated, and ineffective. On the other hand, if all the dimensions are aligned properly, this will result to productive, competitive, and capable employees, which in turn, will bring success to the organization. The Tricord model is used to diagnose and determine if there is balance, or wholeness, in the organization. In this model, all the units in the organization will be given a clear identity and a set of current objectives. There is an established “concept” that includes a business strategy, and a detailed plan that will enable each unit to understand and fulfill its purpose. In the Tricord model, each unit should be aligned and working together to be productive and effective.
The Congruence model is based on the belief that the level of an organization’s performance is determined by 4 components: tasks, structure, culture, and people. When there is congruence among these elements, this will translate to high performance. This model enables managers to identify the root causes of performance gaps and creates a general roadmap for change in the organization. The steps used in solving problems in the organization using the congruence model are as follows:
- Identify the symptoms of the problem.
- Gather information or data concerning the organization.
- Define outputs at individual, group, as well as organizational levels.
- Pinpoint gaps and problems.
- Accurately describe organizational components.
- Assess the degree of congruence between these components.
- Find all possible reasons for the gaps or problem.
- Identify or create action steps.