Bureaucratic versus Non-bureaucratic Organization: Explaining Form, Function, and Change in New Forms of Organizing

Iva Petkova

Abstract


This paper reviews recent empirical accounts on the emergence of post-bureaucratic patterns of organizing and
examines these contributions against established theory on organizations. The paper reports that while the distinctive
features of Weber’s bureaucratic type remain unaffected, two trends in contemporary organizing warrant examining
convergence in motivation. First, large multidivisional organizations have adopted mutation practices in which the
functional structure is overlaid at the level of semi-autonomous project and network organizations. Second,
project-based organizations and variants of network forms of organization offer alternatives to the Weberian type by
attracting executives to new organizational motivations. The paper defines three conditions for evaluating future
novelty claims on post-bureaucratic organizations depending on the variations in two types of motivations for change –
knowledge transfer and learning. These conditions are related to 1) identifying the exact organizational configurations
through which the multidivisional enterprise is mutating; 2) linking change to motivations different from Weberian
intentionality and transaction costs economizing logic; and, 3) theorizing new organizational transformations as
impermanent organizational entities in which instability is a defining characteristic of adaptation though learning.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/mos.v2n1p33

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Management and Organizational Studies  ISSN 2330-5495 (Print)  ISSN 2330-5509 (Online)

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