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Evolution of Formal Organizations

In this day and age, everything is changing; from the jobs that we do, to the way that we do them. For centuries we, and our ancestors, have worked in formal organizations that practice bureaucracy. Bureaucratic organizations have been used to

complete some of the worlds most major projects. However, times are changing, and so are our work methods. Today, hard work and organization is still appreciated, just in different forms. Back-breaking labor has been replaced with technology and creativity. Traditions of work that have been passed down by generations are no more. Today, the world thinks rationally. Instead of doing what has always been done, we are now finding a more efficient, quicker way to do it.

In the past, formal organizations were based on tradition. Workers completed their work in the same fashion as past generations. This caused companies to be inefficient because their work methods were not modern, everything stayed the same and nothing improved. Also, previous organizations lacked technology. There was no such thing as networking, or conference calls. People met face to face, this could be very expensive if clients were in separate countries. There was no way to store and keep information, this also caused companies to be inefficient.

Formal organizations usually have set standards for how they run their business. Rules and regulations are key to an organized environment. A bureaucratic organization usually runs in the form of a pyramid. In this format, every person will always have a supervisor to answer to. The few number of supervisors are located at the top of the pyramid, while the employees are located at the bottom. This pyramid gives structure to an organization. Every person has a job, and are expected to carry out the job to its full expectations. Relationships between co-workers are kept to a minimal. This is to minimize emotion and maximize work. The majority of communication is done via e-mail, telephone, or letters. Everything within a bureaucratic organization is clearly defined with no room for interpretation.

This ideal definition of a bureaucratic organization has been tried throughout the years. This is the way that work has aways been done. Employees work hard toward their specified goal, and answer to their superiors at the end of the day. However, as stated before, time are changing. In the early 1900’s it was not common to hire anyone besides a white male. And in the workplace, every person had his own job that he was responsible for. Today, companies hire men and women of all races. The theory today, is to take advantage of every individuals talents. Also, cooperation amongst all employees is valued. Instead of using each individual for his or her own talent, companies today are putting teams together to come up with the best possible solutions and work methods. Instead of single man labor, we are now practicing group effort. Large businesses are taking advantage of their employees thoughts and ideas. Creativity is becoming just as important as organization.

This new work method has come to be called an open, flexible organization. The bureaucratic pyramid has been flattened to put everyone on a more even scale. Creative freedom, competitive work teams, and flexibility are the new standards for the modern work environment. The characteristics of a large organization are now be converted to represent those of a small group. These changes include, instead of every member having a specialized task, the whole group has a common goal in which they are working towards. Instead of specific rules, informal, general guidelines are established. Instead of hiring people for the work that they can do, people are being hired for the ideas that they come up with. Quick e-mails are being replaced by group meetings. Because of the group setting, relationships in the office are becoming primary rather than secondary. People care about what the other has to say, and instead of viewing each other as competitors, they are viewing each other as colleagues. Because each person has their own part to add to the group.

These new work methods do not apply to everyone. Highly skilled and trained employees are reaping the benefits of a new wave of creative freedom. However, lower level employees are not. They in fact, are actually working harder than ever. The bureaucratic way of work is still in place for them. They continue to have supervisors way above them, while they remain on the bottom. Fast food chains, retail stores, telemarketing are all fields that are growing as well. Unfortunately, selling hamburgers has no room for creative thought. That is why people are still suffering from bureaucratic organizations.

In the future, I believe that it will be black and white. On one end, there will be lower class workers doing the dirty work in a conventional bureaucracy. On the other end, there will be the open flexible organizations where workers have creative freedom, and a friendly atmosphere. I believe that the there is a big difference between the two types of jobs. Certain jobs have responsibilities that must be met by a certain deadline. For instance, a stock boy must have a set amount of merchandise stocked on the shelves by a certain time of day. At the end of the day, he must answer to a supervisor to let them know that his goal was accomplished. In this scenario, there is no room for interpretation there is only one way to stock merchandise. However, on the other hand, a systems developer at a computer company may have weeks to meet deadlines. A new system may need to be planned and they have an abundant amount of time to plan the system efficiently, and work in a team to combine ideas. Although this job has a goal and a deadline, there are numerous amounts of ways that the employee can go about solving the problem. The type of work environment, depends on the type of job that is being done.