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Configurational and Coactivational Views of Organizational Structure. Academy of Management Review

Cultures in which problem-solving and accomplishment of organizational goals are primarily conducted through social structure and relations are mutually conditioned with models of organizational structure with low level of formalization. In cultures with the dominant assumption that organizational collective action is most efficiently realized through social structure and relationships, it is most likely that models of organizational structure with a low level of formalization that prefer social structure and relations over work structures and tasks will occur and be effective. On the other hand, the long-term implementation of an organizational structure with low level of formalization will lead to the development and/or strengthening of an organizational culture in which social structure and relationships will be highly appreciated. Accordingly, we may establish the following hypothesis: H4 : Organizational cultures oriented towards social structure and tasks are compatible with models of organizational structure with low level of formalization. Based on this hypothesis, we may expect Handy’s power and people cultures, as well as Trompenaar’s family and incubator cultures, to imply implementation of the simple model and the model of adhocracy, and that the implementation of these models of organizational structure will lead to the development of the aforementioned types of organizational culture. Based on the correspondence of the basic criteria for differentiating organizational cultures and organizational structure models, we can construct the following matrix that supports the hypotheses on the direct causal relations between specific types of organizational culture and suitable models of organizational structure. 54 Economic Annals, Volume LVIII, No. 198 / July – September 2013 Table 3. Mutual correspondence of organizational culture types and organizational structure models Distribution of power / Centralization level Collective action frame / Formalization level Work structure, tasks High formalization Social structure, relations Low formalization Authoritarian, hierarchical distribution of power High centralization Role culture (H) ‘Eiffel Tower’ culture (T) Bureaucratic model of organizational structure Power culture (H) Family culture (T) Simple model of organizational structure Egalitarian distribution of power Low centralization Task culture (H) ‘Guided missile’ culture Professional model of organizational structure People culture (H) Incubator culture (T) Adhocracy model of organizational structure Source: Author’s calculation There is a relation of mutual conditioning between role or ‘Eiffel Tower’ culture and a bureaucratic model of organizational structure, because there is a high degree of correspondence between the assumptions of this type of organizational culture and the assumptions on which the bureaucratic model is based. Role culture and ‘Eiffel Tower’ culture assume that the organization is a rational instrument for achieving goals, which is also the basis of the bureaucratic model of organizational structure. Since this type of culture assumes the rationality of all the processes in an organization, it is only natural to design the organizational structure to provide that rationality. It does this through a high level of formalization and centralization, and by relying on procedures and rules constituting the core of a bureaucratic organizational model. Role and ‘Eiffel Tower’ culture assume the necessity of unequal distribution of power in an organization, and this is in full accordance with the centralization of authority in the bureaucratic model. In this model the technostructure based at the organization’s top has the highest authority, and it prescribes the procedures that everyone within the model complies with. On the other hand, long-term implementation of the bureaucratic model, with its centralization of power in the technostructure, leads to development and/or strengthening of authoritarian values of unequal distribution of power, and this is at the very basis of role culture or ‘Eiffel Tower’ culture.