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How do new and alternative forms of organizations maintain critical characteristics during growth?

  • Author(s): Chen, Katherine
  • et al.

How do increasingly rationalized or bureaucratic structures affect a growing organization’s retention of characteristics that are felt to be critical to the organization and its output? Most organizational research and theory suggest that as organizations develop, their structures inevitably undergo rationalization or bureaucratization, regardless of the organizations’ initial structures. This dissertation examines which bureaucratic structures destroy, enhance, or have little discernable effect upon an expanding organization’s essential characteristics.

This chapter examines how a developing organization has nurtured certain characteristics while undergoing growth and some aspects of Weberian bureaucratization. Past researchers have examined how some organizations have striven to exist, and even thrive, based on value-rational structures constructed explicitly to counteract the presumed pitfalls of rational-legal bureaucratic structures. When subjected to both internal coordination issues and environmental pressures associated with organizational growth, many of these organizations drastically changed their structures and ethics or “died.” This chapter adds to the organizational literature by analyzing how one such alternatively structured organization has, for the most part, managed to maintain certain aspects of its value-rational structures while adopting some rational-legal structures. Another chapter further discusses how the organization has successfully negotiated and even shaped environmental pressures while gradually adopting certain rational-legal characteristics.

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