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Organizational Structure and Change

Page history last edited by David Touve 14 years, 7 months ago


Organizational Structure and Change

Submitted by: Lex Donaldson

Suggested text:




1.    Introduction to Contingency Theory of Organizational Structure



Frederick G. Hilmer and Lex Donaldson: “Flatten the Structure”, Chapter 2 of Management Redeemed: Debunking the Fads that Undermine Corporate Performance, Sydney: the Free Press of Australia, 1996, pp. 21-54.

Critiques the flatter structure idea.


John Child: “The Shape of Organization – tall or flat”, Chapter 3 in Organization - A Guide to Problems and Practice, Second Edition, Harper and Row Publishers, London, 1984, pp. 58-84. *

Discusses the height of organisational hierarchy and makes a contingency analysis of the managerial span of control.


2.    Contingencies of Organisational Structure:  Uncertainty



Daniel F. Jennings and Samuel L. Seaman:  “High and Low Levels of Organizational Adaptation: An Empirical Analysis of Strategy, Structure and Performance”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, No. 6, July 1994, pp. 459-475.

A study of financial service which shows that organisations in this industry can have various strategies but need to fit their structure to the chosen strategy for high performance: highly adaptive (i.e., changing) prospectors need an organic structure and lowly adaptive defenders need a mechanistic structure.


3.    Contingencies of Organisational Structure:  Corporate Strategy



Lex Donaldson: “Design Strategy to Fit Strategy”, in The Blackwell Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior, edited by Edwin A. Locke, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, pp. 291-303. *

Explains which structures are required to fit various strategies.


Frederick G. Hilmer with Barbara Drury: The Fairfax Experience: What the Management Texts Didn’t Teach Me, John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2007, pp. 64-66 and 177-180. * 

Describes successive organisational structures at an Australian multi-business corporation and reasons behind them.    


4.    Contingencies of Organisational Structure:  Size



Lex Donaldson:  “For Generalization in Positivist Organization Theory”, Chapter 7 of For Positivist Organization Theory, London: Sage, 1996.  P

A review of studies on size and bureaucracy showing the generality of the relationship across industries and internationally.


5.    Contingencies of Organisational Structure:  Interdependence.



“Basic Challenges to Organizational Design”, Chapter 4 of Gareth Jones: Organizational Theory: Text and Cases, Fourth Edition, Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 2004.

Explains the Lawrence and Lorsch work on integration.


6.    Matrix Structures



Stanley M. Davis and Paul R. Lawrence: “The Evolution of Matrix Organizations”, Chapter 3 of Matrix, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1977.

From the classic book written on matrix.  Describes variants of matrix structures.  Emphasizes the need for structures to be supported by matrix culture.


E. Raymond Corey and Steven H. Star:  “Lockheed Aircraft Corporation:  Lockheed-Georgia Company”, in Organisation Strategy: A Marketing Approach, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, Boston, 1971, pp. 61-107.

The Lockheed-Georgia case provides a detailed illustration of a matrix management system and describes the process of its adoption.


7.    Minex – Case Discussion – Please read before class



“Minex” case.


8.    Contingencies of Organisational Structure:  Multinational Operation



Sumantra Ghoshal and Nitin Nohria: “Horses for Courses: Organizational Forms for Multinational Corporations”, Sloan Management Review, Winter 1993, pp. 23-35.

Gives the structure that fits the environment for MNCs.


9.    Japanese Business and Organisation System



J. Bernard Keys, Luther Trey Denton and Thomas R. Miller:  “The Japanese Management Theory Jungle – Revisited”, Journal of Management, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1994, 373-402.  P.

An exposition of Japanese business and organisation management system which brings out the differences from the West.

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