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What Is Organization? Essay

3767 words - 15 pages

To organize means to determine what activities are necessary for a specific purpose and to encourage them in groups, which are assigned to individuals. An organisation is a complex social system, which brings together many individuals for a given purpose. It is also an arrangement of personnel to facilitate the accomplishment of a given purpose through the allocation of functions and responsibilities. To further understand the definition of organisation let us consider the definition developed by Max Weber. Like any other field of study, and like organisation themselves, organizational analysis has a tradition. That tradition leans heavily on Max Weber, who is known for his analysis of bureaucracy and authority, topics that will be considered later. Weber also concerned himself with the more general definitions of organisation. In his definition he first distinguishes the "corporate group" from other forms of social organisation (Weber, 1947). The corporate group involves "a social relationship with either closed or limits the admission of outsiders by rules... so far as its order is enforced by the action of specific individuals whose regular function this is, of a chief or `head' and usually also a administrative staff."

This aspect of the definition contains a number of elements that need further discussion, since they are basic to most other such definition. In the first place, organisation involves social relationship. That is, individuals interact within the organization. However as the reference to closed or limited boundaries suggests, these individual are not simply in random contact. The organisation (corporate group) includes some parts of the population and excludes others. Thus, the organisation itself has a boundary. A major component of this definition, the idea of order, further differentiates organisation from other social entities. Interaction patterns do not simply arise; a structuring of interaction is imposed by the organisation itself. This part of the definition also suggests that organisation contain a hiercharchy of authority and a division of labour in carrying out their functions. Order is enforced with specific personnel designated to perform this function.

To the idea of the corporate group, Weber adds other criteria for organizations. In organization, interaction is "associative" rather than "communal" (1947:pp. 136-39). This differentiate the organization from other social entities, such as the family, that share the other, previously noted characteristics of the corporate group. Weber also notes that organisation carry out continuous purposive activities of a specific kind(pp.151-52). Thus, organizations transcend the lives of their members and have goals, as "purposive activities" suggests. Organisations are designed to do something. This idea of Weber's has been retained by most organizational analysis.


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